Last minute bill to extend operation of California’s Diablo nuclear power plant is wrong

Below is a statement from Juliet Christian-Smith:

“This last-minute legislation would breathe new life into an aging nuclear power plant that is in dire need of seismic upgrades and other repairs to ensure safe operation. By foregoing important environmental reviews and failing to designate funds for seismic safety, the bill ignores the plant’s environmental impacts and vulnerability to earthquakes. Safety cannot take a back seat in our quest to keep the lights on and reduce global warming emissions.

“The risks of extending Diablo Canyon’s operation are significant, and an earthquake-induced accident could, by our estimate, cause more than 10,000 cancer deaths and more than $100 billion in damages.

“The bill provides for a $1.4 billion loan to Pacific Gas & Electric in addition to allowing energy prices to increase. These costs will be costly for California ratepayers and ratepayers, especially if Diablo Canyon is deemed ineligible for federal grants to help utilities keep nuclear power plants open.

“To introduce a final version of this bill 76 hours before the end of the legislative session without the benefit of adequate public scrutiny or a solid analysis of alternatives is a mistake. The Union of Concerned Scientists remains committed to replacing Diablo-generated electricity with renewable energy, energy storage and other cost-effective alternatives that are a safer choice for all Californians.

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