Public debates Diablo Canyon license renewal

August 6, 2015

Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power PlantThe Nuclear Regulatory Commission heard public comment in San Luis Obispo on Wednesday about the environmental risks that could affect the relicensing of Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant. [KCOY]

In 2009, Pacific Gas and Electric Co. applied to renew its license to operate Diablo Canyon. PG&E sought to extend its license 20 years until 2044 and 2045.

But, in 2011, PG&E paused the license renewal process to evaluate seismic concerns at Diablo Canyon. The NRC has since resumed the renewal process.

PG&E officials say they still have not determined how the company will proceed, and they are continuing to consider feedback on seismic research. Environmental groups, including San Luis Obispo Mothers for Peace, have already mounted opposition to the renewal of PG&E’s license.

On Wednesday, the NRC held two public hearings at the Courtyard Marriot in San Luis Obispo. Public speakers included legendary musician David Crosby and SLO County Supervisor Lynn Compton. [Tribune]

Crosby said the nuclear plant is unsafe and should be shut down. Compton spoke in support of Diablo Canyon, saying nuclear energy is the leading producer of clean energy.

The NRC is still taking public comment on the license renewal issue. Members of the public can comment in person, by mail or online at until August 31.

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The literature has repeatedly said nuclear power is safe.

Let’s also not forget that Diablo is one of the few employers in this County that pay a living wage.

I guess we could just shut the plant down, lay off 3k workers, and they can collect sea shells by the sea shore. Oh wait, they can’t… I am sure that isn’t environmentally friendly either….

I thank all for the responses. The assurance is Diablo does not present an exposure to natural events. But concluding this, no one clarified the trade off in elimination of emissions from coal — such as from co2, dust, depredations to the environment emanating from burning coal, etc. Assuming using coal does have these negative attributes, why the controversy on re licensing?

I grew up in Maine close to the atomic power plant in Wiscasset. It was closed down — as was the one near San Clemente. Why these and not Diablo? I again thank the responses answering these question.

Natural Gas!, Natural Gas, Natural Gas!!

think about it folks, it is clean and the US has a lot of it!

Don’t oppose the use of natural gas.

Dear Cal Coast News: You might ask why you in California are paying twice what I in Illinois am paying for electricity, and why Germans are paying four times what I am paying and why Danes are paying even more.

Answer: I live near a nuclear power plant. Wind and solar are so intermittent that you are paying for wind and solar and you are paying again for the fossil fueled power plant that is actually generating 70% of your electricity.

Solar “works” 15% of the time and wind “works” 20% of the time. There is some overlap. The other 70% of the time, you are using fossil fuel. The natural gas power plant has to be kept spinning all the time time be ready when your wind and solar drop out.

We pay more for everything in this state,mainly because the greenie wack jobs are running this state,not a one of them has a lick of sense.

If you want Diablo gone, first get replacement generation fully online, which means passed all regulations and without any lawsuits. Not just hollow statements that we need to move towards solar and wind or such. Then talk can begin about the need for Diablo.

Public Comment period at this NRC Meeting was a rude experience, unless you were in the front row with the pro-Diablo licensing group! If you went to speak these people shouted out and disrupted the speakers! Why didn’t the chair who was running the meeting stop this? The committee needs to hear from you, write and email your concerns.

Are you saying that the pro-Diablo people “shouted out and disrupted the speakers?”

If so, this is quite simply not true. I was there.

You should know by now, the truth never stops some people from making statements

Is Diablo capable of withstanding an earthquake or tsunami? The Fukushima nuclear disaster resulted in a nuclear meltdown of three of the plant’s six nuclear reactors. Substantial amounts of radioactive material began to be released creating the largest and continuing nuclear environmental incident since Chernoby. Could it happen here? Would the environmental effect of such an incident surpass the use of coal on a larger scale here on the Central Coast? Respectfully, would experts on this issue answer these questions?

Diablo is designed to survive about a 7.5 quake and has provisions for surviving a tsunami as well. The plant is at about 85 feet above a cliff and the equipment that is lower (cooling inlet and four pumps) are protected via waterproof vaults.

The issue at Fukushima is that the quake they experienced was about 9 times larger than their scientists had predicted. While the plant did survive that quake, the tsunami, as you know, swamped all their electrical gear and prevented cooling.

Otis, quite a bit of technical information is already out there for public review. But to keep it simple for you, yes Diablo is capable of withstanding an earthquake or tsunami.

On the matter of a Tsunami, if a Tsunami were to destroy Diablo (at 84 feet above sea level and on a steep drop-off to the ocean where it would take a much more powerful Tsunami to rise 84 feet than it would on a flat approach like Santa Maria, Oceano, Grover Beach), approximately 25,384 people would be killed in the low lying areas by such a tsunami. I will go out on a limb and say that most of those killed could care less what happens to Diablo in a Tsunami.

Otis: Nobody died from radiation at Fukushima. Look up “Natural Background Radiation” in Wikipedia or somewhere. Wikipedia will lead you to UN documents that will explain it at book length. If anybody had died from radiation at Fukushima, the news media would have told you his name over and over again. Nobody died from radiation at Three Mile Island.

Watch out for units: milli, micro, kilo, mega, giga, and sieverts, REMs, RADs, becquerels, etc. They can be quite confusing. If you don’t know what they mean, you can easily be misled by somebody who has an axe to grind.

Do you need book or on-line course suggestions?

A vote against nuclear is a vote for coal. It’s as simple as that.

Or, perhaps the people who oppose Diablo should just stop using any electricity that they don’t produce themselves.