Even if the chance of a catastrophe triggered by Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant is slim, this unwavering fact remains:
Of all man-made risks in San Luis Obispo County, our neighborhood nuclear power plant has the potential to kill more people and make more acreage uninhabitable than any other single industrial facility.
Collectively, residents have accepted our role as a nuclear power plant host in exchange for benefits that accrue from dealing directly with the risks. Whether the benefits are worthwhile is where people disagree. But that’s to be expected, especially when people financially tied to Diablo’s operation benefit more than others.
No one should be so complacent or defensive to not acknowledge that a hometown nuclear power plant is a dangerous machine. Like all dangerous machines, be it a chainsaw or a rocket launcher, our Ol’ Lady of the Canyon needs careful handling.
It’s a given that we have top-notch employees helping ensure she’s fired-up and safely delivering the juice to keep our lives lit and on the go. But we shouldn’t take that for granted. Nor should we insist the Ol’ Lady continue on the job indefinitely.
We will find more peace and cooperation when nuclear industry cheerleaders stop denigrating those on the low end of the nuclear benefit-to-risk spectrum. Everyone in our community has a stake in whether our “Big Mama” nuclear plant is well enough and efficient enough to remain on the job or should be allowed to retire with honor intact as PG&E, the plant’s owner and operator, proposes.
-- David Ciaffardini - Oceano