By Harvey Wasserman
The fate of one of the world’s most dangerous atomic reactors is now in the hands of California governor Gavin Newsom.
His vital decision is whether to order cheap, simple, structural tests at Diablo Canyon Unit One, which is currently shut for refueling. Please call him and ask him to do so at (916) 445-2841 and/or sign our moveon.org petition, and contact me at solartopia.org.
Like all things nuclear, the legal situation is complicated, but the economic and safety issues are not.
Diablo Canyon’s owner, Pacific Gas & Electric, is bankrupt.
PG&E is also on legal probation, having been convicted of various felonies for killing eight San Bruno residents in an avoidable 2010 gas explosion. PG&E’s pipes blew up because the company deferred maintenance to save itself some money.
PG&E did the same to northern California power lines that ignited at least 17 fires in which scores died and a thousand homes burned.
The company has been sued for billions, forcing the bankruptcy. Its probation officer, Federal Judge William Alsup, recently asked PG&E’s president, should I “let you keep killing people?”
At Diablo Canyon Units One and Two, PG&E has been deferring critical maintenance since at least since 2010, with catastrophic potential.
Diablo One opened in 1984. Ten thousand citizens were arrested trying to stop it.
In 2003 the Nuclear Regulatory Commission rated it among America’s most severely embrittled reactors, meaning critical interior metals had lost their resiliency. If hit with emergency coolant during a melt-down, they could shatter, causing an apocalyptic event.
The industry-friendly NRC has let PG&E defer further tests. But Unit One is now shut, and embrittlement can be tested easily and cheaply.