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City HallThe AgendaKeep a creaking and dangerous nuke plant alive? Is PG&E serious?

Keep a creaking and dangerous nuke plant alive? Is PG&E serious?

Company wants to go back on 2016 deal and operate Diablo Canyon long after it should have been shut down. Plus: A D6 debate will showcase all the candidates. That's The Agenda for Aug. 8-15.

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Forty years ago, when my friends and I were spending a large part of our lives trying to stop the nuclear power plant at Diablo Canyon, I couldn’t imagine that I would still be writing about this in 2022.

But here we go: Diablo Canyon got its license, despite the massive efforts of an organized movement that changed many of our lives, and has operated and generated high-level nuclear waste that has no place to go, and has avoided a Fukushima-style disaster only because the Hosgri Fault hasn’t slipped—and now it’s old and worn out and unsafe, and PG&E, which was a corporate criminal then and still is now, wants to run it even beyond its projected usable life.

The plant was never safe, and it’s less safe now. NRC photo.

The state, PG&E, and environmental groups agreed in 2016 to shut the plant down. The company has publicly announced plans to decommission the nuke in 2025. It was supposed to be the end—finally—of nuclear power in California.

Instead, PG&E and state regulators, including Gov. Gavin Newsom, are considering allowing the plant to keep operating beyond 2025, for a limited (but we don’t know exactly how long) period of time.

The California Energy Commission will hold a workshop Friday/12 on the topic, and public comment is welcome. In fact, according to Mothers for Peace in San Luis Obispo, which has been fighting the plant since the 1970s, public comment is crucial:

  • The operation of Diablo discourages the use of renewables.
  • Diablo is old and not reliable. Maintenance has been deferred. The last replacement for aging parts resulted in a seven-month outage.
  • PG&E is a corporate felon, responsible for over 100 dead, thousands of homes and businesses burned, hundreds of thousands acres scorched. It can not be trusted.
  • Diablo is seismically vulnerable.
  • The proposal to extend operation severs the closure agreement of 2016.
  • Where/how will this extra high level radioactive waste be stored?
  • Diablo’s Once Through Cooling system is now unlawful. How will that be rectified?
  • Ratepayers and State and Federal taxpayers unjustly foot the bill for this proposed Diablo Canyon “rescue.”

The hearing starts at 4pm. Details on remote attendance are here.

Four candidates have filed to run for supe in District 6, and while the two most prominent—incumbent Matt Dorsey and challenger Honey Mahogany—are likely to finish in the top two, ranked-choice voting means that anything could happen in what may be a very close race.

You can get a chance to hear all the candidates, including Ms. Billie Cooper and Cherelle Jackson, Wednesday/10 at a debate sponsored by the Eastern Neighborhoods Democratic Club and the Chinese American Democratic Club.

Since Dorsey is the incumbent, the others will need to make clear what policy options they offer that are different. There’s so much to talk about; already, Dorsey has endorsed DA Brooke Jenkins, with what many call her regressive efforts on the widely discredited War on Drugs. Housing will be a huge deal, with Dorsey generally taking the Yimby line. Then there’s Treasure Island (and I suspect a lot of TI activists will be at the event). And a long list of ballot measures that the candidates will be asked to take a stand on.

The event starts at 6:30pm, and doors open at 6. Vaccination card and masks required. Strand Theater, 1127 Market.

48 Hills welcomes comments in the form of letters to the editor, which you can submit here. We also invite you to join the conversation on our FacebookTwitter, and Instagram

Tim Redmond
Tim Redmond
Tim Redmond has been a political and investigative reporter in San Francisco for more than 30 years. He spent much of that time as executive editor of the Bay Guardian. He is the founder of 48hills.

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