The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry Fukushima Chernobyl Mayak Three Mile Island Atomic Testing Radiation Isotope

“The devil is always in the details”: Nuclear watchdog urges public to attend Diablo Canyon meetings

KCBX | By Benjamin Purper, February 10, 2023 

There are several upcoming opportunities for Central Coast residents to comment on the future of the Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant. They come amid the ongoing debate over how, and if, the plant’s life should be extended.

The plant near Avila Beach was scheduled to close in 2024 and 2025, until the California legislature voted last year to try to delay that deadline. They authorized a $1.4 billion loan to the plant’s operator, utility Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E), to go through the process of extending Diablo’s life until 2030…….

David Weisman is with the nonprofit Alliance for Nuclear Responsibility, which describes itself as a nuclear watchdog group. He’s an avid speaker at all the various hearings and public comment opportunities related to Diablo Canyon.

“As with everything Diablo, the devil is always in the details, and those remain extraordinarily complex. They involve a multiple number of agencies both at the state level and clearly at the federal level. It falls upon certain advocacy organizations to have to take on this rather enormous task of parsing through all the different parts of this picture that have to come together to make the governor’s dream a reality,” Weisman said.

The most recent big news about Diablo has to do with PG&E’s application to renew its federal license. The utility can’t continue to operate the plant without a license renewal from the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC).

After the legislature passed the bill to try to extend Diablo’s life, Pacific Gas & Electric asked the NRC to reconsider an old application to renew the plant which they submitted in 2009. PG&E withdrew that application in 2018 after deciding they would be decommissioning the plant, and no longer needed to renew the license.

In January, the NRC rejected that request to reuse the old renewal application, meaning PG&E now has to submit a new one — a lengthy process that will likely happen later this year. The denial was met with praise from those advocating for more scrutiny on the extension process, including Weisman himself.

“Quite clearly, the plant has been on a downgraded situation, on a glide path to closure. And maintenance has been allowed to lapse, and equipment purchases, capital improvements have been deferred. So the NRC in this case is quite right in asserting, ‘The plant you’d like us to review is not in the state it was when we last did that.'”

However, Weisman said of the NRC, “they are also capable of granting exemptions as they see fit.”

……………… Weisman acknowledges the climate and energy concerns, but said the public has not seen enough data to conclude that keeping Diablo Canyon open is the way to address them.

……. “Finally, if we do a cost comparison analysis, is it cost effective to actually continue the operation of Diablo Canyon? Something you would have hoped the legislators would have had in front of them on the night they voted on this bill at 1:07 in the morning — but they didn’t,” Weisman said.

…………… Weisman, a long-time critic of PG&E, said he feels another reason for the public to scrutinize what’s happening with Diablo is PG&E’s history of bankruptcy, safety incidents and more.

“They’re not splitting atoms just for fun. This is a company that’s been twice bankrupt in as many decades, a convicted a corporate felon [for] obstruction of justice, wildfire incidents, pipeline explosions at San Bruno. I would say we should all be aware, and pay attention and follow the money,” he said.

………………… Next week, the Diablo Canyon Independent Safety Committee is meeting Wednesday and Thursday at the Avila Lighthouse Suites, with a livestream option via Zoom as well. More information on that is online at



February 11, 2023 - Posted by | politics, USA

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: