Monday, March 25, 2024

Re: Agenda item 35 (Diablo Canyon NPP: A liability California doesn't need)

Date: March 25, 2024
To: San Luis Obispo Board of Supervisors ( )
From: Ace Hoffman, Concerned Citizen

Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant (DCNPP) is a eyesore, an environmental hazard, a security nightmare, and a long-term financial liability for Californians and America.

Diablo Canyon is a toxic nuclear waste-generating pair of machines, operating intermittently at best. Numerous major and minor repairs have been delayed as its owner awaits the final decision to either shut down permanently -- or waste billions of dollars keeping it operating for five, 20, or even 60 or more years. Or maybe only a day, if they're (we're) not so lucky.

And for what? To risk a Fukushima-level event here after an earthquake, tsunami, terrorist attack, operator error, or just because some old part wears out?

If you're NOT afraid of the nuclear waste Diablo Canyon continues to generate -- as some of DCNPP's more strident (and less informed) supporters have claimed -- then why not TAKE THE WASTE from all the other old, closed reactors across the state? Citizens around San Onofre have been trying to get the three-million-plus pounds of high-level, toxic, nuclear waste located in San Clemente, California, in a densely populated part of the state, moved away for more than a dozen years, with zero success.

Besides eliminating the production of ever-more nuclear waste, another reason to shut down DCNPP is simply this: It's in the way. It's in the way of renewable energy solutions that are far MORE reliable, and far cheaper, and many orders of magnitude SAFER.

California has already implemented a lot of renewable energy. Much of it is not even counted in cumulative state totals for energy production because it doesn't leave the site where it is produced (which is a very reliable way of obtaining electricity, by the way). But even so, renewable energy in California far outstrips nuclear's portion, and nearly every day now, for at least part of the day, renewables in California produce MORE energy than California is using at the time! And we've only scratched the surface of what can and should be done here with regard to renewables.

There are those who claim that DCNPP is "baseload" energy for California and therefore we "need" it. Neither statement is true. Every major facility that requires uninterrupted power, that regularly uses DCNPP's power, has other backup systems in place BECAUSE DCNPP is NOT a reliable source of baseload power.

There's just no getting around it: Modern rechargeable batteries, pumped hydro storage, inertial turbines and dozens of other options are available right now for emergency backup. Furthermore, grid improvements -- which have been known to be needed and which are coming throughout the state -- make "baseload" provided by unreliable behemoths as archaic and illogical as nuclear power has always been.

Moving forward with nuclear power -- without a solution for the waste problem and without a fair and equitable insurance system is irresponsible. The federal Price-Anderson Act, which has recently been extended, LIMITS the liability of nuclear corporations and the government to what might easily be a paltry single-digit portion of the real costs. After a severe accident at DCNPP, California citizens would individually have to "eat" most of the financial damages from an accident at Diablo Canyon (as well as eating, drinking, and breathing the poisons that might be released).

San Onofre Nuclear Waste Generating Station suddenly shut down permanently when one of their brand-new replacement "like-for-like" steam generators suddenly sprung a leak. No one in California should ever consider nuclear power as "reliable baseload."

California doesn't need nuclear power. In fact, NOBODY needs nuclear power. The jobs are better in other industries, and there are plenty of them. Shut DCNPP down ASAP, and keep it shut. Before something happens that we'll all regret...

Ace Hoffman
Carlsbad, CA 92010
The author, an independent researcher, has studied nuclear issues for more than 50 years...