The Future of the Diablo Canyon Nuclear Plant

A group of scientists, philanthropists, and self-identified conservationists weighs in.

The role that nuclear power could or should play in helping to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions is worthy of serious debate, but the latest nuclear-related front-page story in the San Francisco Chronicle is a head-scratcher. Above the fold, the headline reads “Nuclear plant’s surprise backers,” followed by the following subheading: “Environmentalists push for Diablo Canyon to stay open.” The accompanying article reports on a letter sent by a new coalition identifying itself as “Save Diablo Canyon,” calling on regulators to relicense the plant. The stated concern is that a closed nuclear plant would make it harder to meet the state’s greenhouse gas reduction goals. Constructed on a cliff along the central California coast, Diablo is the last remaining commercial reactor in the state and it soon must either receive a new license, or cease operation.

The mystery about the article is that it only mentions three of those who signed the letter, and each of those three has been on the public record for years as favoring nuclear power. So, where is the surprise? Where is the news item?

Examination of the letter itself reveals the names of 27 people identified as “Scientists” and 30 who are categorized as “Conservationists and Philanthropists”. No doubt, these are credible, thoughtful people and their support for continued operation should carry weight, but this is packaged for the press as a stunning reversal of direction by “environmentalists”, who are often thought of as opposing anything nuclear. Yet, not a single signatory is identified as having any active involvement with a major environmental organization. No information is provided as to whether any one of them has recently changed his or her mind about the subject.

This coalition is led by Michael Shellenberger who has made a career out of being an “environmentalist” who speaks hard truth to other environmentalists. Most famously, he was the co-author of an article entitled “The Death of Environmentalism”. He has proven to be very adept at gaining public attention in controversial ways.

This latest poof of excitement re-introduces the question of what it means to be an environmentalist. Is it enough to simply award oneself that label? Is there some set of credentials or experience that allows one to enter the club? Whatever it is, it probably means more than having an advanced degree, or a Nobel Prize, or a business card that says “Environmentalist.” It is the ambiguity of the term that makes it hard to give it much potency in a situation such as this.

Here is the thing about Diablo Canyon. If we were to build a nuclear plant in California today, it wouldn’t be at Diablo Canyon. And, if we were going to select the best nuclear plant to continue operating for an additional thirty years, it wouldn’t be this one. Diablo is perched on a relatively shallow cliff amidst a series of seismic fault lines. It is near a popular small city. It has no doubt led to the destruction of millions of sea creatures due to its massive cold water intake system, and hot water reinjection. It was designed incorrectly at first, then retrofitted with beams and shock absorbers that make it a challenge to walk from one end of the facility to another, then discovered to have been erroneously redesigned so it had to be retrofit again. There have been reported incidents of faulty operation, such as the failure to notice that a pipe feeding a critical backup cooling system had been stuck in the closed position for over a year. In the wake of the earthquake and tsunami-induced Fukushima disaster, important questions were raised about the wisdom of continuing to operate a facility of this type in a coastal, earthquake-prone area. But there it stands, and if the state were to pursue a replacement nuclear plant, it would likely take a decade to get there.

So, there are really two critical questions here: Nuclear — yes or no? This nuclear plant — yes or no? It has got to be the facts that help us decide. The green stripes of those who express opinions don’t get us any closer to the answers.

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Reader Comments

8 Replies to “The Future of the Diablo Canyon Nuclear Plant”

  1. Dear Steve,

    Thank you kindly for your consideration of Diablo Canyon. A few points:

    — The climate implications of losing Diablo would be massive. Diablo would be replaced by natural gas, and create the equivalent amount of carbon emissions as putting nearly two million new cars on the road.

    — Diablo Canyon produces twice as much power as all of California’s solar panels, 24 percent more than all of its wind, and 40 times more than its largest solar farm. Diablo provides nearly one-quarter of the state’s electricity from clean energy.

    — If Diablo Canyon closes, meeting our climate goals — already very difficult — will be near-impossible.

    — Saving Diablo comes with a conservation win: up to 2,000 acres of coastal land that would likely have to be purchased by Pacific Gas & Electric to mitigate Diablo’s local impact.

    — Wind and solar should be part of the climate solution, but they aren’t nearly enough on their own.

    — Continued operation of Diablo Canyon will almost certainly require Pacific Gas & Electric to spend tens of millions of dollars on land conservation for up to 2,000 acres of land north of the plant in order to comply with the Clean Water Act. But if Diablo goes away, so too will this opportunity for significant new land conservation along California’s coast.

    — Diablo provides power to three million Californians on a patch of land the size of three football fields. Achieving the equivalent from a solar farm would require 145 times more land; from wind, 500 times more.

    You raise many questions about safety. Let me ask you something: are you a trained nuclear power plant safety inspector? I’m not. What I am able to do — as you and everyone reading this blog is able to do — is evaluate our regulatory agencies for their efficacy and independence.

    We should ask:

    — Is the agency independent or dependent on the companies its regulating? Is it low-performing and low-morale? Is it low-status compared to the entities its regulating? (Think credit agencies vs. big banks). Is it plagued by corruption scandals? Is it overly politicized?

    Now, here are some facts about Nuclear Regulatory Commission:

    — NRC is independent, effective and is considered one of the best regulatory agencies in the world.

    — NRC is governed by bi-partisan chair and commissioners selected by the President and Congress. NRC has “resident inspectors” on-location in every nuclear plant who report to NRC headquarters.

    — NRC staff are highly-trained, high-status and well-paid; they often work at NRC the entire career.

    — If a utility-operator tries to approach an NRC employee about employment, the employee must immediately report the interaction and, if interest in the proposition, be moved to a different job.

    — The agency has been rated one of the “best places to work” in the federal government. It is overseen by the US Inspector General that enforces strong laws and strong ethics rules.

    — NRC staff and nuclear plant workers have whistle-blower protections that go above and beyond other industries and regulatory agencies.

    — NRC has a unique process, known as Differing Professional Opinion, that allows NRC staff to raise issues without fear of retaliation, and insures that their concerns will be vetted at the appropriate level. This function is highly valued by Congress, NRC and independent observers.

    — Ask yourself: do you really understand the comparative risk of Diablo vs. the other risks in your life, including driving, flying, exposure to sunlight, diet, exercise, alcohol consumption, etc? Are you worried about global warming a serious risk and if so how much confidence do you have in renewables given the above?

    I am looking forward to your response and engagement on these substantive questions.

    With best wishes,

    Michael Shellenberger

    1. Dear Michael,
      Thank you for taking the time to comment on my article about the Diablo Canyon letter, and I am delighted to continue sharing ideas with you about it.

      My article hits three points. First, I suspect that the characterization of the letters as a surprise change of course by environmentalists is a bit overblown, if not inaccurate. Second, if we were starting fresh today, we would never site a nuclear power plant at Diablo Canyon. Third, Diablo Canyon is not the best choice for a nuclear plant to relicense for another thirty years. I end by acknowledging that the plant stands, and that replacing it with another nuclear plant would take at least ten years. In your comment, I did not see any disagreement with these points. Instead, you seem to be debating something I did not take on: whether there is a role for nuclear power in California’s (and implicitly the nation’s) future.

      I hesitate to respond to each of your points, since they trend in a direction I never intended to address, but I do want to point out certain things. First, I agree that replacing Diablo Canyon with natural gas would be a mistake, and I may have a higher level of confidence than you do that renewables could make up the difference. The grid of the future is going to be dominated by renewable power sources — at least 50% of California’s power by 2030, not counting rooftop solar. Some would argue that there will need be a continued reliance on natural gas to compensate for the intermittency characteristic of wind and solar. From a carbon standpoint, we cannot afford that result. Fortunately, there are other ways: properly balanced renewables, storage, vehicle-to-grid techniques, hydro dispatch, demand response programs, energy efficiency improvements. Second, you offer a few statistics based on the current role of nuclear power in California’s energy mix that beg for clarification or expansion. Let’s start by remembering that Diablo Canyon is not the only nuclear plant capable of having its power transmitted into the state. And as non-hydro renewables grow from the 20% level reported by the California Energy Commission for 2014 to the 50% level by 2030, the comparative role of Diablo Canyon in the clean power mix will shrink to about 10% (holding demand constant). But demand is likely to grow, for various reasons. As it does, so must the amount of power generated by non-hydro renewables, and the percentage contribution of Diablo will continue to shrink.

      Third, when it comes to meeting greenhouse gas reduction goals, closing Diablo Canyon (which provides about 8.5% of California’s electric power) is not the deal breaker. That prize goes to the more than 44% of the current power mix that comes from natural gas generation, the 6.4% that comes from coal, and the 15% that comes from unidentified sources (clearly at least some coal and some natural gas). In the absence of a dramatic change in the feasibility of carbon capture and storage, we cannot continue to use any of these fuels if we have hope of reducing greenhouse gas emission 80% below 1990 levels. What I would love to see you focus your keen analytical skills and bully pulpit on is changing the way we view natural gas as a resource and actually planning to back out its growing use.

      Fourth, you spend about half of your comment on defending the integrity of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission — something that I certainly have never raised as an issue. The suggestion is that the NRC is so good that we can trust it to have our backs. I can’t agree with that. Even assuming that the NRC never makes a mistake, that does not ensure us that nuclear power is safe. The NRC does not make such a guarantee. It just issues findings that nuclear power is safe enough. There always remains the possibility of a low-probability, high-cost failure. I might be able to run across a crowded freeway and avoid injury, but if I fail, the consequences are serious. As a society, we must decide whether we want to take on more of that kind of risk.

      Finally, you introduce the issue of risks related to various other things, such as driving, flying, sun exposure, exercise and alcohol consumption. The obvious distinction is that taking on all of those risk is voluntary and individuals can do things to mitigate the risk. Exposure to a nuclear accident is not voluntary and hard for individuals to mitigate.

      I appreciate your ongoing role in the public debate on our energy future and will continue to follow it with interest.

      1. Foreword: I am very disappointed at the commenting feature here. There is no preview, nor any list of allowed HTML tags. An author can only guess how a comment will appear, and has no obvious chance to correct a formatting problem. Better systems were in widespread use in the 20th century, and use of something so primitive in 2016 should be a badge of shame.

        Second, if we were starting fresh today, we would never site a nuclear power plant at Diablo Canyon. Third, Diablo Canyon is not the best choice for a nuclear plant to relicense for another thirty years.

        If Mr. Weissman has an option for moving Diablo Canyon to e.g. Bodega Bay, or conjouring up some other nuclear plant whose output is not spoken for to re-license, then well and good. But Mr. Weissman knows full well that neither San Onofre nor Rancho Seco are ever coming back. He also knows that the effects of any shutdown begin immediately and are cumulative. He proffers false choices, when in reality the choice is Diablo Canyon or natural gas.

        I agree that replacing Diablo Canyon with natural gas would be a mistake

        If Diablo Canyon shuts down, that is what will replace it. The dams on the Columbia river are at capacity, and California will return to drought conditions after this El Nino.

        The grid of the future is going to be dominated by renewable power sources — at least 50% of California’s power by 2030

        PV peaks at noon and wind peaks at night, both well off the evening demand peak. It is PHYSICALLY IMPOSSIBLE to meet 50% of demand with sources which are unavailable when that demand is at maximum.

        Some would argue that there will need be a continued reliance on natural gas to compensate for the intermittency characteristic of wind and solar. From a carbon standpoint, we cannot afford that result.

        You cannot afford to be without power either. This guarantees that the gas drillers will have locked-in sales into the indefinite future.

        there are other ways: properly balanced renewables, storage, vehicle-to-grid techniques, hydro dispatch, demand response programs, energy efficiency improvements.

        This list of non-options is the Green answer to creationism’s Gish gallop. Hydro is about 6.5% of US generation, so obviously can’t balance much. Vehicle-to-grid is woefully limited if people expect to use vehicles as… vehicles. Demand response is limited to minutes or hours. Efficiency cannot generate power when it’s not there.

        Storage is the funny one. Pumped hydro is by far the cheapest of the available technologies. Let me walk you through an extreme thought experiment. Lake Erie has a volume of 480 cubic kilometers, roughly 480 billion metric tons of water. Suppose you could take that entire volume of water and pump it 100 meters uphill with 100% efficient pumps, then recover that gravitational energy with 100% efficient turbines.

        Each kilogram of water gains gravitational energy of 981 joules in the climb. 480 trillion kg of water times 981 J/kg is 471 petajoules, or 131 billion kWh. Average load on the US grid is about 450 million kW, so that incredibly massive pumped storage system would buffer the current US grid for a whole… 290 hours. That’s just over 12 days. And that is for a grid which does not yet power our transport systems or most heating energy!

        The greatest physically possible combinations of pumped hydro storage cannot come close to the hypothetical lake Erie, and every other option for storage is at least tens of times more costly. Like your “other” nuclear plant to re-license in lieu of Diablo Canyon, the “options” do not exist.

        Diablo Canyon is not the only nuclear plant capable of having its power transmitted into the state.

        Columbia Generating Station and Palo Verde are spoken for, unless you expect to play a shell game and purport to make someone else’s power come from natural gas instead of your own.

        as non-hydro renewables grow from the 20% level reported by the California Energy Commission for 2014 to the 50% level by 2030

        This is not going to happen. Unreliable sources are not fungible with base load plants, and when they reach approximately the fraction of their capacity factor each one will have periods when total grid demand is equal to or less than what they’re producing. Without very cheap storage, that output has no use and must be dumped. That gets expensive, and doesn’t displace any fossil fuels at all.

        Third, when it comes to meeting greenhouse gas reduction goals, closing Diablo Canyon (which provides about 8.5% of California’s electric power) is not the deal breaker. That prize goes to the more than 44% of the current power mix that comes from natural gas generation, the 6.4% that comes from coal

        This is the Energiewende scheme, and will have the same outcome: skyrocketing electric rates while CO2 reductions cease. One definition of insanity is doing the same thing and expecting a different result. In the case of the planetary threat from climate change, this is not just insanity but a crime against humanity.

        we cannot continue to use any of these fuels if we have hope of reducing greenhouse gas emission 80% below 1990 levels.

        This is true. Such reductions have in fact been achieved, most notably by Sweden and France (Ontario is running third). All used nuclear power extensively. The remarkable part is that none were actually trying to eliminate GHG emissions!

        I keep challenging “nuclear skeptics” to show me ONE grid of more than 5 GW average load which has been de-carbonized by conversion from fossil combustion to wind and solar power (not hydro). Nobody can name one.

        Even assuming that the NRC never makes a mistake, that does not ensure us that nuclear power is safe.

        The three worst nuclear accidents in the history of the planet have a combined death toll that would fit on a single bus. Fossil fuels kill more people from air pollution alone every day of the week, and climate change can kill numbers in 9 or even 10 figures. More people have been killed in the past quarter-century by meteors (1) than by radiation from commercial nuclear power plants (0). If that isn’t safe enough for you, you are a hypocrite if you so much as step on a public sidewalk.

        Exposure to a nuclear accident is not voluntary and hard for individuals to mitigate.

        I volunteer. I want all of my electricity to come from nuclear, and I’ll take my space heat and hot water from it too*. I’ll run my car on electricity to eliminate any need for petroleum (I’m already 70% of the way there). In return I want no fossil-fuel production within a 50-mile radius and no FF combustion for a distance of 200 miles upwind. Deal?

        * Some of the SMRs (small modular reactors) on the drawing board are small enough to serve individual cities or boroughs with both electric power and steam heat; this would eliminate essentially all non-mobile CO2 sources. The possible radioactive emissions from the worst possible accident with some of these can be contained inside the plant building. People die regularly from natural gas explosions in New York City; if you say that e.g. a NuScale generating electricity and steam for Manhattan “isn’t safe”, you have failed to meet your burden of proof that anything is, or even can be.  The most dangerous thing in winter is to be without light and heat.

    2. Michael,
      Thanks for weighing in here.

      Aside from Steve’s compelling responses, a couple of other things in your comment stand out and warrant a response.

      First, it’s rather odd to use the fact that Diablo Canyon imposes effectively unmitigable impacts as a justification for the plant’s future – but your comment seems to do exactly that, by spinning the possible attempt to use coastal land conservation (a distant second-best mitigation for impacts to fish, compared to avoiding the impacts) as a positive. The only reason that conservation measure would be required is because of the impossibility of avoiding significant impacts to fish and the ecosystems in which they reside. If coastal advocates with a big-picture view really supported keeping the plant open, with all its impacts, because of a belief that the land conservation would have more benefits than the harms from the plant, I might be persuaded. But I haven’t seen that yet. A CEQA review, which the Save Diablo Canyon group strongly opposes, would analyze and clarify the nature of the impacts and the adequacy of mitigation.

      Second, your “facts” about the NRC are really largely opinions about the NRC. Of course neither of us (or Steve) are nuclear safety inspectors, but that does not prevent us from having a serious conversation about risks and benefits, any more than the fact that neither of us are atmospheric scientists should prevent us from understanding the risks that climate change poses, based on information and analysis from those that know more firsthand. Your talking points are far from unanimously-held opinions, particularly regarding the effectiveness of the NRC’s regulatory process, its enforcement record, and its treatment of whistleblowers. For example:

      -The authors of this Brookings Institution analysis don’t agree with your assessment of the agency’s enforcement history: http://www.brookings.edu/research/opinions/2011/04/01-nuclear-meltdown-kaufmann

      -NRC whistleblowers are not protected the way you suggest: http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/whistleblowers-say-nuclear-regulatory-commission-losing-bite/

      -The agency has also rejected important safety recommendations from its staff:
      http://www.ucsusa.org/news/press_release/NRC-Rejects-Requiring-Core-Melt-Plans-0522#.Vq2v3t477CQ

      Here is some further information and analysis about some of the weaknesses (and strengths) of the NRC:
      http://www.ucsusa.org/nuclear-power/whos-responsible-nuclear-power-safety/nrc-nuclear-power-safety-2014#.VrAFV0AleL9

      One more point is worth making here: as I’ve written about before, the Price-Anderson Act dramatically skews the incentives to develop nuclear plants, and to site them in places where there is a lot of risk, because it requires the public to bear almost all the financial risk associated with physical risk from nuclear facilities. Price-Anderson means that every American has a stake in the safety of nuclear power everywhere in the country, in the sense that we collectively bear that risk, whether or not we get the benefits. Insurers are quite rational in their approach to risk. Anyone who believes that nuclear power’s risks are low, or manageable, should be willing to let insurers price that risk.
      https://legal-planet.org/2011/05/10/the-story-of-the-price-anderson-act-how-congress-made-nuclear-power-financially-viable-in-the-u-s-by-eliminating-accountability-for-risk/

      I am agnostic about nuclear power’s role in our energy future. But a useful conversation should go beyond just repeating talking points from the “Save Diablo Canyon” group.

      All my best,
      Sean

    3. Michael Shellenberger said:

      “……If Diablo Canyon closes, meeting our climate goals — already very difficult — will be near-impossible……”

      Dear Michael,
      Given the sorry dysfunctional incoherent and erroneous climate propaganda that passes for reason in California, there is no truthful logic to support any sound expectation that California would ever meet its clumsy “climate goals” regardless of Diablo Canyon.

      Other than a relatively small group of delusional climate kooks, no one really cares nor should they. If all of California’s climate goals were fully implemented and successfully achieved, this would not have any measurable impact on the climate, but it would cause substantial harm to the state’s economy.

      When Diablo Canyon finally closes down, then California will be forced to buy even more expensive fossil fuel electricity from out-of-state generators, and thereby contribute mightily to ever-increasing and unmitigated carbon dioxide emissions. The crushing high cost of living is what ordinary citizens of California should fear the most, and not that stupid climate change diatribe.

  2. Steve:

    I’d like to challenge some of the points you asserted and for which you can probably find plenty of supporters. Nuclear energy has been controversial in CA since the early 1960s, when two of California’s largest companies (Chevron and Gulf) recognized that it was going to threaten their dominance of the state’s energy production and take market share. Shell Oil, though headquartered in Europe, also played a role as did several smaller oil companies, notably ARCO.

    You assert that a new nuclear plant being built in CA today wouldn’t be located at Diablo Canyon, but you stated that judgement as if it was a known fact with which “everyone” would agree. I can guess the basis for your assertion, but did you know that the Sierra Club specifically worked with PG&E to select the Diablo Canyon site as preferable to several others under consideration? The “cliff” that you mention is a safety feature, it is what puts the plant’s safety related systems, structures and components out of reach of any conceivable tsunami.

    Since the site is already the location of nuclear power plants, it is probably the best place in CA to site new ones. There is a supportive local community — outside of the Mother’s for Peace — and there are knowledgable professionals who can train a new generation of plant operators. There are transmission corridors that could be expanded, and readily available cooling water.

    There is a good bit of controversy in the scientific community about the overall environmental effect of once through cooling versus other ways to dissipate the heat from a thermal power plant. The volume of ocean that is affected is minute compared to the size of the body of water, so the effect on living creatures is equally minute. Many other nations have made no attempt to regulate the long established practice of once through cooling out of existence.

    There has been plenty of ink spilled in opposition to Diablo Canyon and in an effort to spread fear, uncertainty and doubt about its performance in an earthquake. I’ve been suspicious of that heavily promoted earthquake risk ever since I learned that the Hosgri fault was discovered and named by two Shell Oil geologists who delayed promoting their findings until after PG&E had already completed much of the facility. That seems to have been calculated to impose huge costs on a competitor but no one seems to have batted an eyelash at the time.

    I don’t claim to be a converted former anti-nuclear activist. I’ve been in favor of the technology ever since I was 8 and my dad explained how his company’s new power plants didn’t need smokestacks. I know a bit about transmission lines, unreliable power sources, and power generation and believe that Jacobson’s studies are build on dreams or mirages, not reality. His employer at Stanford is named the Precourt Institute for Energy. It’s named after a generous alumni donor named Jay Precourt, who has given the institute at least $80 million since it was formed in 2006.

    No surprise to me, but Jay Precourt earned his BS and MS degrees in Petroleum Engineering and made his fortune in a variety of positions in the oil and gas industry. He probably knows full well that wind and solar projects are really gas projects with nice PR and signage.

  3. Diablo Danger Underestimated?

    February 5th, 2016

    New studies, using state of the art seismic mapping technology, show that fault lines threatening the Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant are more complex and interconnected than Diablo’s designers could have known. This complexity negates the seismic predictions used to justify the plant’s location. Unfortunately, we now know that the network of faults nearby and underneath PG&E’s nuclear facility could be activated by a mega-thrust earthquake far to the north, at the Cascadia Subduction Zone. Subduction Zone earthquakes are the most powerful quakes in the world and can exceed magnitude 9.0.

    The Cascadia, which begins near Vancouver Island, is a 620 mile long fault line that intersects the San Andreas Fault just off of Cape Mendocino in Northern California. This region of powerful and unpredictable earthquakes connects directly to the Diablo Canyon site. After evaluating America’s nuclear power facilities in the wake of the Fukushima disaster, the NRC has recently ranked the aging Diablo Canyon nuclear plant as uniquely vulnerable to unanticipated seismic activity, a “Group One…hazard.”

    In the early 60’s, Pacific Gas & Electric first chose Bodega Bay as the site for their proposed nuclear plant. They began excavating the foundation, but then a fault line was discovered on site, and that nixed the plan for Bodega Bay. PG&E then proposed a spot fairly close to where the Diablo Canyon plant sits today. This second location also got crossed off the list because of faults. When, finally, construction of the Diablo Canyon nuclear facility began near Avila Beach, PG&E maintained that there were no active faults within 30 miles of the facility. The plant was originally designed to withstand a magnitude 6.75 earthquake but was later upgraded to weather a magnitude 7.5 shaker. Unknown at the time, the plants’ two reactors were situated near undiscovered faults.

    For over 30 years, seismologists have argued that the utility companies have underestimated the seismic threat to their nuclear facilities, especially Diablo Canyon’s redesigned structural supports. In 2011, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) ranked Diablo Canyon as the nation’s nuclear plant most vulnerable to earthquakes. In 2012, Michael Peck, who for five years was lead NRC inspector at Diablo Canyon, argued that the plant was no longer operating within its license and that it should be shut down until PG&E demonstrated that the reactors and other equipment could survive earthquakes on the newly discovered faults. In a letter sent to PG&E on May 13, 2015, the NRC revealed that Diablo Canyon is classified as one of the nation’s two “Group One” nuclear facilities, “that have the highest re-evaluated hazard relative to the original plant seismic design.”

    Recognized only recently, the Diablo Cove Fault Line runs east to west directly under the Unit One Reactor and turbine building! The fault underneath the facility is connected to the entire network of faults. About a quarter mile west of the facility, the Diablo Cove Fault cuts across the seismically active Shoreline Fault, itself only recently discovered. The Shoreline is connected to the feared Hosgri Fault, a component of the San Andreas Fault System. Because this location is so tectonically active, and the system of faults is so complex, no one can predict safety with confidence. The Diablo Cove Fault, the Shoreline Fault, the Hosgri Fault, the San Andreas Fault and the Cascadia Subduction Zone are all seismically linked, and the power stored within the combined network of fault systems could create an earthquake sufficient to exceed Diablo Canyon’s safeguards.

  4. Update Re: Diablo Danger Underestimated?

    February 8, 2016 – Headline: Earthquakes On Thrust Faults Can Spread 10 Times Farther To A Second Nearby Thrust Fault Than Previously Thought

    “The scientists found that an earthquake that initiates on one thrust fault can spread 10 times farther than previously thought to a second nearby thrust fault, vastly expanding the possible range of “earthquake doublets,” or double earthquakes.”

    http://phys.org/news/2016-02-dose-bad-earthquake-news.html

    It’s time to Close Diablo Down ASAP!

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Steven Weissman

Steve established and directed the Energy Law Program at Berkeley Law. He is currently a Lecturer at the Goldman School of Public Policy.…

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