The only facility in California that does not use any of California’s precious fresh water is the Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant which desalinates ocean water for all of its freshwater needs, even running the nuclear reactors. But their desalination plant is only operating at 40% capacity. They can actually produce a million and a half gallons of fresh water a day, and can ramp up quickly to provide the additional 825,000 gallons of freashwater per day to the nearby community. Because the Canyon Diablo nuclear plant produces electricity at only 4¢/kWh, the desalination will cost a fraction of a cent per gallon, cheaper than any other desalination facility.
If the world built nuclear power plants at the rate Sweden had, there would be no need for fossil fuels in 25 years
With all its cons and pros, at this time, nuclear power remains our best shot at decarbonizing the planet and ridding the world of its dependence of fossil fuel. During the 60s and 70s, many of the world’s governments, including France, the US or the USSR embarked on ambitious projects to electrify their nations using nuclear power. Accidents like those at Three Mile Island (1979), Chernobyl (1986) or Fukushima (2011) served to halt this rapid pace of deployment and even shift policy back to massive fossil fuel deployment. Anti-nuclear power public sentiment did little to help, of course. Considering that the combined power of solar, wind and hydropower can’t yet rid us of pesky oil and gas, wouldn’t it be better if we embraced nuclear nevertheless, with all its shortcoming (many of which have been addressed by modern technology)? Two researchers wondered if the world was to hypothetically shift in high nuclear gear, how long would it take to completely shelve fossil. Their analysis showed if we built nuclear power plants at the rate Sweden had between 1960-1990, this target would be reached within 25 years.
Opposition to Diablo Canyon started before it was constructed, by Friends of the Earth (FOE), a political action group founded by activist David Brower in 1969, over concerns about earthquake safety. Brower, who was against nuclear power in general, split with the Sierra Club over the Club’s position on the Diablo Canyon Power Plant. The Club helped block PG&E’s plan for a nuclear power plant at Bodega Bay over concerns of the earthquake danger from the nearby San Andreas Fault, and supported moving the site to Diablo Canyon. Brower believed that nuclear power was a dangerous mistake at any location, and opposed Diablo Canyon, in defiance of the Club’s official policy. Browser’s ideology was opposition to nuclear power this has become an existential issue for them so they need to claim it is unsafe regardless of the science. They have ignored the recent seismic studies making them out of touch with reality on this issue. Continue reading
Diablo Canyon, California’s last nuclear power plant, can safely withstand earthquakes, tsunamis and flooding that could potentially occur in the region according to a new report released March 9, 2015 by PG&E. Evaluations were performed at the direction of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC).
As part of its response to the Fukushima event in Japan in 2011, the NRC directed all U.S. commercial nuclear power plants to perform a reassessment of the potential seismic and flooding hazards to their facilities. The seismic hazard analysis at Diablo Canyon was performed using an NRC-mandated process known as the Senior Seismic Hazard Analysis Committee, or SSHAC. Under the SSHAC process, existing and new seismic information was peer-reviewed and publicly evaluated by third-party, independent seismic experts. Continue reading