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Diablo Canyon

Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant provides a baseline source of power that is free from green house gases and is an essential backbone of California’s electric power grid.  It is also the direct source of 1400 jobs. 


If the plant does return to the relicensing process, the aging systems will be reviewed to ensure the systems can be retrofitted to safe operation.


However, it may not make economic sense to continue its operation.  Even solar systems are now cheaper to build and operate.  Several grid-scale energy storage systems are now in experimental development.  If these systems are encouraged, then there may not be a reason for PG&E to renew the license in ten years.  The 1400 jobs can be redirected in that time.


Diablo Canyon has both pluses and minuses.


The Positives:


Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant creates 1400 jobs in this district.


The plant creates a baseline power backbone for the electric grid in the state.


The plant operates with essentially no greenhouse gas emission.



The Negatives:


Accidents do happen. The plant is operated with safety in mind. However, I doubt Fukushima and Three Mile Island operators thought there was a problem before the accidents.


The Hosgri Fault. While the possibility of a major eruption of the fault might be minimal, the costs of damages if there is a major accident is great.


The Price-Anderson Nuclear Industries Indemnity Act limits the plant operators to a comparatively low amount (compared to the cost of a major accident). It also leaves the taxpayer on the hook for a lot more (an effective bailout). But accidents can cause damages far in excess of what even the government is required to cover. But if there is no risk of an accident (they tell us the plant is safe), why is this Act still needed. The cost of commercially insuring something that is completely safe should be quite cheap.


Nuclear waste. PG&E is doing a good job storing the waste on site. But they will not do so for the tens of millennia that is needed. Are they absorbing the cost to the taxpayer to find a way to safely handle this commercially generated waste. PG&E is a for profit company. They should be libel for their cost of doing business.