Diablo Canyon Is Safe

Diablo Canyon Power Plant from Wikipedia articleDoc Searles2007_04_24_sba-sfo-lhr_048.JPG Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Station, on the coast of California.Taken on April 24, 2007https://www.flickr.com/photos/52614599@N00/477497335/

Here’s my “Op-Ed” submission in response to the one-sided advocacy article published in The Malibu Times. I request that it be published in The Malibu Times.

RE: Posted: Friday, May 15, 2015 12:00 pm

Malibu Meltdown: Is it Possible? By Jimy Tallal / Special to The Malibu Times


Diablo Canyon is Safe, by Gene A. Nelson, Ph.D.

Anti-nuclear power scaremongering is a very profitable business. For example, anti-nuclear power advocate Joseph Mangano has collected about $1.8 million in donations to his nonprofit, the Radiation and Public Health Project since 2001, according to mandated IRS Form 990-EZ annual disclosures. Almost $1 million has flowed to him personally in the form of salary and benefits!  

Some of the organizations highlighted in Jimy tallal’s one-sided advocacy article are on the same “gravy train.” Another significant source of income for the California-based organizations is intervenor funds that are paid for via increased California utility bills. As an example the San Francisco-based “nonprofit” The Utility Reform Network is slated to collect about $7 million in funds as an intervenor advocating for the closure of San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (SONGS) What happens to the ratepayers? They have already paid $4 billion for the premature decommissioning of SONGS. In addition, they will pay about $3.3 billion more for their power, per a recent article in the San Diego Union-Tribune.

Diablo Canyon Power Plant (DCPP) has been engineered to continue to safely operate (and safely shut down, if necessary) in the event of any likely earthquake in the area.  A substantial safety margin has been designed into the plant. Visitors that attend a DCPP public tour can touch some of the massive steel support beams in the power deck of the plant. A sample of the  special wrist-thick reinforcing steel that is used for six layers within the thick concrete containment dome is can be hefted at PG&E’s Energy Education Center in nearby San Luis Obispo. The area’s seismic potential  is the most intensively studied of any nuclear power plant in the world. The NRC’s ongoing oversight has reaffirmed DCPP’s seismic safety. The most recent meeting occurred on April 28, 2015 and included a panel of NRC’s consulting seismologists and staff. Here’s a news account “NRC reaffirms Diablo Canyon’s seismic safety” By David Sneed, San Luis Obispo Tribune   http://www.sanluisobispo.com/2015/04/28/3608660_nrc-diablo-canyon-earthquake-safety.html   The former DCPP Senior Resident Inspector, Michael Peck Ph.D.’s  earthquake safety  concerns have been thoroughly reviewed by the NRC. The NRC consensus does not support the alarmist views advanced by  the former Senior Resident Inspector.

These anti-nuclear power advocates would rather have fossil fuel burned to increase global warming and increase air pollution. They trumpet public relations false claims that conservation, wind power, and solar power can make up for shutting down California nuclear power plants. Conservation is already at a point of diminishing returns. Solar and wind produce variable outputs during a 24 hour period, in marked contrast to nuclear which is on 24/7. Furthermore, the actual outputs from solar and wind are small and are extremely capital-intensive. Having enough wind and solar to replace the 18,000 Giga-Watt-hours of power annually produced by Diablo Canyon Power Plant (DCPP) would produce huge increases for each reader’s power bill. The land required would be in the hundreds of square miles range to make up for the fact that the capacity factor (cf) of wind and solar is so low (about 20%.)

I also appreciate that nuclear power plants such as DCPP are means to absolutely and positively destroy Soviet nuclear warheads. DCPP has helped to destroy its share of the 20,000 Soviet nuclear warhead equivalents that were used in the “Megatons to Megawatts” program over the past two decades.

The 95% of the U-235 that remains inside the cooled nuclear fuel being safely stored in Independent Storage Facilities will serve as fuel for the next generation of nuclear power plants.

You may learn more about the independent citizen activists that have banded together to support the continued safe operation of DCPP. The group is called “Californians for Green Nuclear Power (CGNP.)” Their website is http://www.CGNP.org

Gene Nelson, Ph.D. (Radiation Biophysics)

CGNP Government Liaison, San Luis Obispo, CA

The Malibu Times