The letter "Diablo is a marine life killer" (Dec. 24, 2020) has so many important details that are misstated, unknown, or intentionally left out.
The water exiting from the condenser into Diablo Cove directly falls over huge concrete steps to cushion the flow of water. At this point, some of the heat in the water is lost by natural evaporation. Warmer water is lighter and rises to the surface where the natural prevailing winds and swells in the ocean reduce the temperature further. This entire 40-acre area is not totally influenced by the warmer water. The plant license with the Regional Water Quality Control Board allows the rise in temperature of the water leaving the plant at 22 degrees above the ambient temperature at the intake, which can change and varies at the time of day and the time of year. Generally, the water exiting from Diablo is between17 to 20 degrees higher as it exits the condenser. Thus, the temperature is cooler than most of the unheated aquariums in Central Coast homes.
The intake structure is where the water enters the tunnels to carry the water to the condenser to condense the steam leaving the high-pressure turbines. Filter feeders such as barnacles and mussels attach themselves to the walls of the tunnels and feed on the single-cell species such as plankton, fish eggs, and larval forms. What is happening in the Diablo Canyon tunnels is inherent along rocky coastlines, pilings on piers, boat bottoms—places where filter feeders can attach themselves to and consume billions of fish eggs, larvae, and plankton. The fact that billions of the eggs and larvae never reach adulthood is the reason for their great numbers.
The fearmongers find something they can complain about, then develop it into a greater and seemingly dangerous situation to alarm the citizens—yet they have no real training, education, experience, or expertise on the subject of nuclear power.
I have personally questioned the president of the local fisherman's association, the fishermen themselves, a local sport fishing company, and individuals who fish off our coastline. All have explained there is no problem catching their quota of fish.
There are many underwater videos taken at the Diablo Cove showing the healthy and thriving marine environment. PG&E is a good steward of the marine environment in Diablo Cove, with abundant validation provided to regulators. Δ
Ellie Ripley was a Diablo Canyon tour guide for 23 years. Respond with a letter to the editor emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.