Diablo Canyon nuclear plant must be shut down

May 15, 2015

Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power PlantOPINION By FRIENDS OF THE EARTH

Despite repeated assertions by Pacific Gas & Electric Co. that the Diablo Canyon nuclear plant is safe from earthquakes, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission has ordered PG&E to provide more proof. Friends of the Earth believes that the order confirms concerns that faults surrounding Diablo Canyon are capable of more ground motion than the reactors were built to withstand and that the plant is in violation of its operating license and should be closed immediately.

On Wednesday, the NRC sent PG&E a letter requiring the utility to conduct further studies to show whether Diablo Canyon — California’s last nuclear plant, on the Pacific coast near San Luis Obispo — is operating within the bounds of its license. According to NRC criteria, nuclear plant operators must conduct further “seismic risk evaluation . . . if the design basis does not bound reevaluated hazard.”

In 2011, the NRC ranked Diablo Canyon as the nation’s plant most vulnerable to earthquakes stronger than it was designed to withstand. For the new safety review, Diablo Canyon is one of only two nuclear plants the NRC classified as high priority. PG&E must complete its review by June 2017, but the NRC may take until 2020 to evaluate whether to take regulatory action, which could include closing the plant and holding public hearings to determine if it is safe.

“The NRC is ordering further risk evaluations only for nuclear plants with newly discovered seismic hazards that exceed the basis for safety design, and has put Diablo Canyon in the highest priority for further review,” said Damon Moglen of Friends of the Earth. “The NRC won’t come out and say it, but, they’re essentially saying that the reactors are operating outside of their license. Under the law, that means these outdated reactors should be shut down immediately.”

The NRC letter is in response to a controversial PG&E seismic study, submitted in March as part of a disaster review ordered after the 2011 Fukushima reactor meltdown. PG&E’s report confirmed that the faults surrounding Diablo Canyon are far larger and more powerful than previously assumed, and that the shaking the faults could generate is much greater than that considered during design, construction and licensing more than 40 years ago. Despite the report’s alarming conclusions, PG&E said the plant is safe, and NRC publicly agreed.

The letter also confirms a key concern of the NRC’s former chief resident inspector at Diablo Canyon, Dr. Michael Peck. Nearly two years ago, Peck filed a formal dissent arguing that the newly discovered faults indicate the plant was operating in violation of its license and should be closed. The NRC rejected Peck’s appeal and later worked with PG&E to illegally, secretly and retroactively amend the terms of the license to make it appear that the plant is safe.

“Instead of enforcing the law and shutting Diablo Canyon down, the NRC is giving PG&E as much as five more years to re-evaluate the risk,” said Moglen. “That’s small comfort to the millions of Californians who would be in danger if Diablo Canyon is struck by an earthquake of the force that scientists know is possible at that location. Once again the NRC shows more interest in helping PG&E cover its assets than in protecting the public, and once again PG&E is putting profits before safety.”

At an April 28 public meeting the NRC and PG&E presented about the seismic risk evaluation at Diablo Canyon.



PG and E probably likes Adam Hill because he is the Devil they know.

PG & E provides HUGE benefits to our community. They are one of the FEW employers that pay well here. Some people living here aren’t retired or don’t have a trust fund/inheritance. Some of us aren’t on welfare or aren’t disabled. The tax revenue helps our local schools (well, San Luis Coastal).

PG&E has a safety protocol and plan in place. They keep staff well trained. They do disaster trainings with local health departments, practice drills.

The employees are locals who live near the plant too. Why would they want to live near something unsafe?

The research that is ALREADY out there, and mention by others (thanks people!) says that nuclear power is safe, produces the least amount of CO2, and friends of the earth just doesn’t like the answer so they want to keep pushing until they find documentation that might agree with a thought they have. Sigh.


…you forgot overpaid public employees with a near guaranteed job security and guaranteed cost of living “adjustments” (i.e. pay raises w/o calling them pay raises) every year.


Well said! Friends of the Earth would love nothing more than to hide the fact that the plant is run safely by the citizens and residents of SLO county. This is not us vs them as they would love for you to believe – this plant is ours and run by us and has been for almost 3 generations. The plant is a gem for SLO county and has provided jobs, taxes, and enumerable benefits to the county.


Friends of the Earth needs to leave our local economy alone. Do we REALLY want to run off our kids, grandkids from the Central Coast?

Despite what the “professionals” tell us, the economy isn’t really better. Most people aren’t getting raises, and yet the cost of living is going up. Inflation has made a house that cost people my parents’ age 30,000 in 1978 550k in today’s dollars. We NEED jobs like PG &E to make living here do-able.

Employees at PG & E are parents and grandparents. They kayak in the water, their kids and grandkids swim in the water. We ALL breathe the air. Again, there just isn’t evidence after all these years the plant isn’t doing anything less than high quality energy production.

I think the Friends of the Earth should clean the beaches. They should go start Smelt fish farms. Get grant money from Governor Moonbeam and have a contest to see which fish farm can bring the Smelt back from endangerment fastest. They can show their “mad” environmentalist skills. It would be there chance to shine.

Shocked in MB

I do believe that many of you “Friends” are fans of the TV show “Naked and Afraid”. If we successfully close the plant and take many of the actions you recommend, we will all become stars of that show.


YES lets build a massive damn as an alternative energy because that wont completely alter our environment OH WAIT LOPEZ LAKE!! Yeah another damn will only hurt animals and people will profit, so that’s okay, money is far more important than future generations lets all get wealthy and we will let our grandchildren fix our mistakes. Want an alternative energy? LOOK UP the sun is free. Want CO2 levels to decline and the ozone to repair itself STOP CUTTING TREES DOWN to build homes that aren’t being occupied and only add to our water problem, PLANT MORE TREES. 1 tree produces clean air for a family of four. Farmers in the Amazon are payed to NOT cut their trees and work with the land not against it and guess what IT RAINS DAILY, I wonder why. STOP TRYING TO MAKE A BUCK it’s worthless, We are not at the berge of a problem we are all ready knee deep, stop thinking with your pockets and think of how Earth took care of herself before man started playing God, and got so greedy. EDUCATE yourself don’t deny the problems, stop hidding your head in a hole and pretend it’s going to be alright. I get their are many factors to consider about Diablo, the best and true solutions are usually very simple but require the RICH to sacrafize, something they are not accustum to. Their are more working class than the Elite, they only make 1 percent of our population and the gap is growing. Imagine what the rest of the population could accomplish if we where all on the same page. I’ve lived here all my life except for 4 years in Korea which got lots of rain BECAUSE THEIR CITIES ARE 70% FORESTRY. I remember rain, it use to rain here a lot, sometimes so much we would have floods, the High school would shut down because of floods that was only 10 years ago. Stop trusting the RICH, they don’t care about the masses they only care for their own, when it gets to bad here the rich will just move to the moon. Face the facts the sun is free trees provide free clean air and contribute to water production, consumtion and conservation, I dont need a degree in rocket science to figure that out.


My EYES! Gaaah… make it stop!

Rich in MB

Are you smoking Crack?

How much does a Solar system cost….ah amigo, they ain’t FREE so making a BUCK is how you afford to buy the panels in the first place.

The Rich are how build the damn solar panels, so will you please put the Ganja bong down for long enough to listen to yourself man…without profit, you don’t have a Solar panel from the sun. Hello McFly….is anyone home?


This nation, and world, of ours is rapidly declining due to folks and organizations such as FOE and Mother’s for Peace. Maybe they had their place for a short time many years ago, but they are now so “Yesterday” and no longer useful, having extremely outdated thinking, with their heads buried underground (ground that is dangerously dried out from human-caused climate changed-induced drought …. we have not seen anything yet, as California will be devastated over the next 10 years, which climate scientists have seen coming since the 1950’s). My world and career have been strongly rooted in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) for 40+ years, understanding the vital importance of STEM to our clueless society that spends more attention on sports and entertainment than seeing real life around them. In reality, FOE, Mother’s for Peace and other useless organizations are helping kill the future for our children and future generations, having extremely narrow and highly uninformed and outdated thinking, not understanding what this world is all about. If FOE and MFP can’t stand the heat of true reality, then get out of the kitchen.


As a scientist, I think you would also be interested in the Union of Concerned Scientists take on the cost of Nuclear Power in the U.S.


If you disagree with Friends, then state the facts. If you disagree with people who “are to blame for a rapidly declining world”, what are you doing to make it better? Too much HATE, not enough facts.

My opinion is that DCPP has served its purpose to California, and it should not be re-commissioned. We should be working with PG&E’s help in building new Energy supply in the coming years to replace Diablo. The new Tesla battery was a significant step forward in empowering self-supply. There will be jobs in decommissioning the plant and jobs will also be created in building and maintaining new Clean Energy facilities and in solar panel residential installation. These development and new inventions will empower the consumer, and that’s a fact.

Rich in MB

The Tesla battery…ha ha ha ….where does the battery gets it’s power from to be rechaged? Folks…these are the BS Dreamers who don’t understand how the real world works. Look, I’m the only one commenting here that is REALLY living 100% off the Power Grid, so if solar is the answer, put your money where your mouths are and cut off the PG&E big evil meter and live like I do….off the grid baby. Oh no….you won’t do that? It too expensive? Requires too much change in your life?

Well then you my friends are the problem.

As they say in Oil Rich Texas, “you guys are all Hat, no cattle”


“I’m the only one commenting here that is REALLY living 100% off the Power Grid”

This is not about you and your tax credit funded solar system.

Grid tie solar helps California, off-grid only helps the user, very selfish if they have a pge drop.



The rip on Solar is it lacked storage capacity to provide supply when the sun wasn’t providing energy. The Tesla battery is a step in the right direction. Technological improvements require risk-takers and investors and visionaries, but mostly they need the appropriate technologies and scientific training to lay the foundation for their development. There are rarely “Quantum leaps”, but instead gradual progression.

By the time Diablo is decommissioned, more residents will be storing their own Solar-panel generated electricity in their residential or shared batteries and also fueling/storing energy in their electric or hybrid cars. As more efficient technologies are developed, the marketplace will have more access to cost-effective solutions. The change won’t happen overnight, but it’s not a BS Dream, because similar technological progressions happen all the time.


A variation on the P.J. O’Rourke quote;

Acting on advice from “Friends of the Earth” (I prefer fiends of the Earth) is like splitting a bottle of Jack Daniel’s with you 16 year old, then tossing him the keys to your car.


Cal Coast News, I do believe that it is somewhat irresponsible to publish such drivel without letting one of the experts at PG&E at least comment on it. Some of these people (kettle, for example) actually believe this stuff. Please consider.


Speak for yourself.

Please consider before you try to put words in other peoples mouths.

If real experts want to comment, I am sure ccn would publish their opinion.

Except Adam Hill and PG&E MC Tom Jones would try to prevent it as part of the shut down CCN program, they need Adam reelected.


Isn’t this the same group that asked PG&E to scour San Luis Bay to look for earthquake faults? (It was back in the 70s when they discovered a 5,000 year old, inactive fault requiring the plant to be built to withstand an earthquake). Then when the ships used sonar to look for faults they complained that the noise was interfering with the navigation of the whales. How much has these four-plus decades of PG&E harassment cost us?


To be fair, I don’t think that they were aware of how PG&E planned to look for faults. Your comments downplay the risk provided by the Hosgri fault and also the damage to marine life by the method they were using to try to check for more faults.

I don’t think that FoE (or related activist groups) are always right but they have a legitimate concern here. The problem is that their answer is to totally shut down the plant until and unless “proof” is provided that it is “safe enough.” Not only do I distrust their ideas of “proof” and “safety” as much as I distrust PG&Es, but their solution ignores some serious other consequences of a shutdown. I would want proof of imminent danger before I was willing to accept those consequences.


How else would one look for faults in the ocean floor, if not by sounding?


We may be crazy until someone starts telling us the truth about D.Canyon. Obviously, one party or the other is lying or withholding information.

It won’t be crazy if a powerful quake occurs and kills the Central Coast for thousands of years. Be realistic and force the NRC to do its job.

Personally, I don’t trust PGE to ever tell us the cold facts; a very incompetent company…

just look at their safety record!!


PG&E actually has a fairly good safety record. Their mistakes haven’t been that frequent given the scale of their operations. The problem is that a couple of them have been major and nuclear power generation is not something where you want any major mistakes. I agree that PG&E has to be watched closely and double-checked by an agency that is not a “captive” of their industry.

Rich in MB

I actually trust PG&E more than I trust Friends of the Earth!

Rich in MB

Are you guys Crazy?

Do you know how much CO2 Diablo Canyon has saved from the atmosphere?

A True Environmentalist loves Nuclear Power, friends of the earth should be renamed killers of the earth.


Isn’t this the same group that had the “Split wood, not atoms” bumper stickers back in the ’70s. How’s that strategy working now that we’ve got global warming.


Burning wood to heat a home is a carbon neutral activity. That strategy is working very well.


“Carbon neutral”? Really? Please tell us all, why Mothers For Piece, and Friends of the Dirt don’t all advocate a wood fired power plant. Why aren’t they all inventing wood powered home generators? Why do you think smoke, ash, and chemical release of gasses from burning wood is “neutral”? By YOUR logic, coal should be the number 1 priority fuel for energy production, seeing as coal is nothing more than WOOD and plant waste compressed into a more compact carbon state.

Here’s a little Wiki for you. Yes, I know, take any wiki with a grain of salt. However, I suggest you see who did the study. Yep, the same people that brought you global warming!!

“Wood burning creates more atmospheric CO2 than biodegradation of wood in a forest (in a given period of time) because by the time the bark of a dead tree has rotted, the log has already been occupied by other plants and micro-organisms which continue to sequester the CO2 by integrating the hydrocarbons of the wood into their own life cycle. Wood harvesting and transport operations produce varying degrees of greenhouse gas pollution. Inefficient and incomplete combustion of wood can result in elevated levels of greenhouse gases other than CO2, which may result in positive emissions where the byproducts have greater Carbon dioxide equivalent values.[14] In an attempt to provide quantitative information about the relative output of CO2 to produce electricity of domestic heating, the United Kingdom Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) has published a comprehensive model comparing the burning of wood (wood chip) and other fuels, based on 33 scenarios.[15] The model’s output is kilogram of CO2 produced per Megawatt hour of delivered energy. Scenario 33 for example, which concerns the production of heat from wood chips produced from UK small roundwood produced from bringing neglected broadleaf forests back into production, shows that burning oil releases 377 kg of CO2 while burning woodchip releases 1501 kg of CO2 per MW h delivered energy.”

So. Kettle. You are just plain wrong…again….still.

Rich in MB

Shhhh….don’t hurt the feeling of the ecoextreamists…they may start brining SUVs or chain themselves naked to the entry of the plant!


Can you just imagine how many millions of people would die if we all burned wood. Seriously, kettle. Use your brain.


4,000-12,000 people died in London from coal smog due to an inversion layer from Friday 12/5/52 to Tuesday 12/9/52. This led to the passage of The Clean Air Act 1956.


On the face of it, your claim seems so absurd that I was going to add another “thumbs down” to all the others. However, I figured that you should have the opportunity to back it up first. Source please?


Rich in MB says:”Do you know how much CO2 Diablo Canyon has saved from the atmosphere?”

You seem to be confused. The C02 from diablo was already emitted when the plant was built. Mining the ore>steel>formed pipe/rebar etc

Mining the sand and gravel>make the concrete> cast it etc

Mining the fuel>refining the fuel>storage for the fuel>

All of the diesel of all of the equipment used etc.

Clean up the fuel, move it store, Casks etc

And all of the energy to create all of the parts and equipment and move it all to Avila, dig out the hole, build it etc

Billions of tons of C02 in the atmosphere are the result of the Avila power plant.

Feel free to show us with links and facts that the embedded energy of everything needed to build and operate it (diablo canyon) has saved CO2 from the atmosphere.

You get to make your own opinion, not your own facts.


No form of power production produces less Co2 than Nuclear power. All power plants require energy to be expended to be built, including solar, hydro, biomass, etc. You are just trying to throw sand in peoples eyes with your nonsense argument hat the Co2 has already been created. If people are truly concerned about Co2 levels, then nuclear power is by the far the best solution. http://nuclearinfo.net/Nuclearpower/WebHomeGreenhouseEmissionsOfNuclearPower


Less Co2 than nuclear, is hydro. But the green weenie tribe would simply shit their collective pants if anyone suggested that we build huge dams again.

Personally, I think it makes tremendous sense. Big dams make for a big water source, which not only provides water to the state, but mega dollars in recreation fees, hotels, parks, marinas, roads, stores, and crazy tourist trinkets. Not to mention, Professional Bass Fishing tournaments :)


I am not sure that your source is trustworthy either but nuclear power — especially from an already built plant — definitely produces less CO2 than any fossil fuel burning power sources. If you discount the CO2 already burnt in constructing it, it MAY be comparable to solar or wind power and certainly provides it on a scale that wind and solar can’t yet approach.


Yet when you shut down a wind or solar plant you don’t have that pesky radioactive waste to deal with. Maybe we can store it in your backyard until you can figure out what to do with it.


While completely and utterly true, it is a bit of a red herring, don’t you think? The argument is about CO₂ not the waste.

I agree with both of you: Nuclear is definitely the cleanest way of producing electricity; however, the waste is such a serious problem that it needs to trump the cleanliness of the generation.

That said, what really trumps either the waste or generation is the DEMAND. Our demands for energy are simply too high for alternate sources – and might, one day soon, be too high for fossil fuel burning sources. This cannot be ignored when discussing energy.


I recently watched a lecture challenging the commonly held methods of going green that I highly recommend: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=–OqCMP5nPI

Watch the first 30 min (the last hour is Q and A). It will change what you think about green technology.

This really changed my mind on some things. Solar and wind are not the answers – they are largely symbolic and not really green. When politics and science get together, you end up with a monster that does not achieve the promoted goals. It becomes a religion. The actions become largely symbolic with little impact.

That said, groups like Friends of the Earth and Mothers for Peace have their own religion. The science doesn’t matter. The record doesn’t matter. The oversight doesn’t matter. They don’t believe in safe nuclear power. And they don’t care about the consequences. They even fought dry cask storage, before they were for it.

Nuclear power from Diablo Canyon and other nuclear plants provides lots of clean energy, good jobs, taxes, and supports the communities the plants are located in. And it does that at a scale so large that only fossil fuels can compete on price.

We should have more nuclear, more hydro, and more conservation using technology that does not sacrifice standard of living, like LED light bulbs, turning off unused devices, and replacing inefficient pumps and appliances.

Another video I would recommend if you have Netflix is Pandora’s Promise. I like that it took a look at nuclear power from an environmentalist standpoint and also laid waste to a lot of misconceptions and outright lies. While I don’t believe in blindly trusting in documentaries, articles, opinions, the more information and points of view we have, the better off we are.


Thanks for the YouTube link. It reinforced my views of the subject and went well beyond them in doing so. It is so unfortunate that not only are there no “easy” answers to the problem of clean energy, but there are no answers at all except massive conservation, or disaster on a scale to reduce world population.

People don’t easily change habits to make even minor improvements when energy use accompanies improved living standards and dealing with this will require far more than minor improvements. Instead people bet on positive illusions about either alternative energy sources or negative illusions like denying the existence of serious consequences of CO2 (and other pollution) on climate. If we really were that much of a superior species, we would stop behaving like rats in a science experiment.


I saw the environmental movement as a tax-payer scam from the outset. It’s not better than, and quite similar to, the military-industrial complex taking advantage (and propagating) external fears to feed itself.

However, many are still too into the “Green Revolution” financially to back out now. If you want funding as a scientist or employment as a professor / teacher, one best toe-the-line.


More nonsense. How about offering a solution Kettle? The creation of actual power by nuclear creates no CO2. All things, including the home in which you avoid books, educational television, or useful internet sites, take CO2 to create.



Your argument would be a lot more credible if Diablo Canyon was yet to be built. The CO2 footprint associated with construction already exists, we can’t take it back. The question now (from a global warming perspective) is whether or not the CO2 associated with Diablo’s future operations is less than other alternatives. Many senior climatologists think that we need to go more to nuclear power — not because it is without its flaws but because it is the lesser evil given our current dependence upon electric power and the relatively slow scale up of cleaner alternatives.


The Sierra Club was an early proponent of nuclear power. When PG&E proposed the nuke that is Diablo on the Nipomo Dunes the Sierra Club thought the location, though cheaper to build on, too environmentally sensitive and proposed the more expensive Diablo Canyon site, to which PG&E agreed. Anybody remember acid rain? Smog alerts in LA? Both relegated to the past. What also needs to be relegated to the past is the irrational post anti-war movement, that in the absence of war, decided that a nuclear electricity generating facility was equivalent to the detonation of a nuclear bomb (Mothers for Peace posters against Diablo featured mushroom clouds). Now Fukishima has given them new life. Diablo is not Fukishima.