Nonprofit Californians for Green Nuclear Power, Inc. advocates for an open and transparent process to determine Diablo Canyon's future.

CGNP organized rallies, including the Feb. 16, 2015 rally covered by this newspaper. Since about 2018, on the second and fourth Thursdays, CGNP has operated a booth at the downtown San Luis Obispo farmers market. We have gathered petitions signed by around 1,000 attendees supporting the continued safe operation of Diablo Canyon beyond 2025.

We regularly provide comments supported by written testimony during the public comment period at the San Luis Obispo County board of supervisors meetings. Since January 2017, CGNP has provided thousands of pages of footnoted testimony to regulatory and oversight bodies at the local, state, and federal level that support continued operation.

CGNP has written opinion pieces for numerous publications, including this newspaper, outlining the benefits to California ratepayers, the environment, and California public safety connected with keeping Diablo Canyon running well past 2025.

The plant was designed to run for a century and has been well maintained by Pacific Gas & Electric. It would be very wasteful to turn off California's largest generator after it has been fully paid for by California ratepayers in 2025 - after only four decades of operation.

Californians would not be able to use abundant desalinated water from the plant, as advocated by a recent Stanford-MIT study. All of these open and transparent processes are in contrast to how opponents of nuclear power typically operate.

On the same day that the news story "Doubts dog Gov. Newsom’s idea to extend Diablo Canyon’s life beyond 2025" published, the story "California prepares for energy shortfalls in hot, dry summer" was published. Rolling blackouts are likely this summer, even with Diablo Canyon running. The latter story raises similar concerns as CGNP.

The "joint parties" are dominated by organizations doctrinally-opposed to nuclear power. CGNP learned from an opposition attorney during CPUC hearings in San Francisco that there was a series of secret meetings starting six months before PG&E's surprise announcement on June 21, 2016 of their plans to close Diablo Canyon in 2025. CGNP has documented how over 10 California executive branch agencies have opposed the continued operation of Diablo Canyon.

California's power grid has become much less reliable and more expensive since 2010 as the state has replaced safe, reliable, 24/7 generation such as the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (SONGS) with inherently unreliable solar and wind generation at a cost of tens of billions of dollars.

The problem is that the sun does not always shine nor does the wind blow with sufficient force to turn the wind turbines. The substantial intermittencies (up to 80%) are usually compensated for by wasteful fossil-fired combustion to the detriment of the environment. Batteries are an expensive and dangerous method to compensate for these intermittencies.

The poorly-kept secret is that Californians get significant amounts of power from emission-laden, out-of-state coal plants such as Intermountain near Delta, Utah. A Berkshire Hathaway Energy subsidiary, PacifiCorp launched the Western Energy Imbalance Market (WEIM) in November 2014.

The WEIM exploits a loophole in California environmental legislation (SB 1368 [Perata]) that forbids long-term supply contracts with out-of-state coal-fired generators. Readers may learn more via the topmost results of the Google query of both phrases "Diablo Canyon" and "Wyoming coal."

The WEIM website shows that this dodge has been very lucrative for power supplier PacifiCorp. The firm has apparently vigorously lobbied behind the scenes via California Advisors, LLC to close Diablo Canyon in 2025. Californians would then have no choice other than to take PacifiCorp's much more expensive and emission-laden power, particularly when the roughly $20 billion cost of an interstate transmission network from Wyoming to California is included in California ratepayer costs.

A superior solution is to keep Diablo Canyon running. This solution is supported by a majority of local residents, organizations concerned about the environment, and several courageous candidates and political leaders.

Gene Nelson, Ph.D., is a legal assistant for the nonprofit Californians for Green Nuclear Power, Inc. 

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