Nuclear Shutdown News – September 2016

by on September 30, 2016 · 1 comment

in California, Civil Rights, Culture, Energy, Environment, Health, History, Organizing, Politics

By Michael Steinberg /  Black Rain Press

Nuclear Shutdown News chronicles the decline and fall of the nuclear power industry in the US and abroad, and highlights the efforts of those who are working to create a nuclear free world. Here is our September 2016 edition:

Activists protest Diablo Canyon shutdown chicanery.

On September 19  the San Diego Union-Tribune ran this story: “Protests filed over  the details of proposed Diablo Canyon Shutdown.”

“It’s been less that three months since (San Francisco-based) Pacific Gas & Electric, along with an assortment of groups, including environmental groups, announced its interest in shutting down the last remaining nuclear plant in California–Diablo Canyon.”

It’s shutdown date is set for 2025. The Union-Tribune story appeared just after the deadline for filing protests to PG&E’s shutdown proposal had passed.

 “And groups complaining range from backers of nuclear energy,” the paper reported, “to green activists who are eager to see Diablo Canyon’s demise but don’t like some of the particulars of the joint proposal PG&E filed with the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC).”

 The Diablo Canyon nuke plant was a focus of controversy  before it even opened. Located on California’s Central Coast near San Luis Obispo, opposition to the nuke plant was mounted by the Abalone Alliance,  and grew during the 1970, spawning Friends of the Earth and other environmental groups.  Their struggle inspired the movie China Syndrome, featuring Jane Fonda, Michael Douglas and Jack Lemon, which opened shortly after the Three Mile Island 1979 nuclear disaster.

But Diablo Canyon subsequently did start up, along a coastline riddled with earthquake faults and in a tsunami zone. Opposition to it reappeared after the 2011 Fukushima meltdowns. and increased after the shutdown of the San Onofre nuke plant, near Disneyland and not far from LA several years later.

“Nuclear power is a hotly contested issue and many people have very strong opinions about what should or should not be done,”Mathew Freedman, attorney for The Utility Reform Network (TURN), a ratepayers advocacy group group, told the U-T. “So I’m not in the least surprised that there are many groups that want to be involved in the case.”

Diablo Canyon generates 18,000 gigawatts of electricity a year, 9% of California’s electricity., the U-T reported.  PG&E’s plan is to replace this output with “a combination more renewable energy, more energy efficiency and electrical storage,” the U-T reported.

“We know that plant is expensive to operate and poses risks to customers and the environment,” Freedman charged.

In its protest filing, TURN asserted that “PG&E’s lack of planning led to increased natural-gas-fired sources,” according to the Union-Tribune, which are often involved in fracking.
Other no nuke groups that filed protests about Diablo Canyon’s shutdown plan include, Women’s Energy Matters, Alliance for Nuclear Responsibility, Friends of the Earth, the Green Power Institute, , and the Center for Energy Efficiency.

Another contentious part of the shutdown proposal is “PG&E’s request for ‘cost recovery’ of $52.7 million over eight years,” the U-T reported.

Mathew Freedman’s response:

“They never go approval from the CPUC to spend that money at their own discretion, on a license renewal project they later decided to abandon. Customers should not forced to pay for it.”

 Sources: San Diego Union-Tribune,

Used nuke for sale–cheap!

On September 12 the following headline appeared, not in The Onion, bit the Washington Post “For sale: Multibillion dollar, non-working nuclear power plant.”

The Bellafonte nuke plant is located , believe it or not, in Hollywood, northeastern Alabama.  Bellafonte is located on the Tennessee River, and is owned by the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA).

In a scenario that would be too outrageous for the Simpsons, this nuke plant’s construction began in the 1970s, and was touted as  one of Alabama’s biggest energy projects. It was supposed to have four nuclear reactors, then was scaled back to two.

But, according to the Washington Post,

“construction was halted in 1988, when energy demand in the region flat-lined. As recently as 2011 TVA sought to restart work on one of the reactors, but by 2014 the utility was ready to abandon the project. Experts said cost $8 billion to complete.

“Now, after 40 years and  $5 billion in costs, it’s for sale for $36.4 billion, without ever producing a single watt of electrical power.”

Homer, have you checked Bart and Lisa’s piggy banks lately?

Source: Washington Post,



{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

obdave October 3, 2016 at 8:03 am

Actually nuclear energy capacity is on the rise, at least over the next few decades. Over 60 new reactors are under construcrion as we speak.


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