Letter-writer David Ciaffardini is correct in pointing out that, "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," ("Diablo should retire with grace," March 2).
The safety risks should have stopped the building of the two reactors in the first place. There has never been an answer to the problem of how to store the radioactive waste for the hundreds of thousands of years they remain lethal, and the Diablo site is riddled with more than a dozen earthquake faults.
Furthermore, nuclear energy is not carbon-free. The mining, milling, and enrichment processes for producing the pellets for fuel involve huge energy expenditures, nearly all of it based on coal, oil, or gas��"all of which emit CO2. And then, the radioactive fuel needs to be transported, which adds to its carbon footprint.� And the construction of the plant involved massive amounts of concrete, which produced significant carbon emissions.
PG&E made the decision to close the plant for reasons of economy, rather than safety or the environment. The aging plant��"designed in the 1960s and mostly constructed during the 1970s and 1980s��"is too expensive to maintain and run.� And California does not need the electricity it produces.� The Los Angeles Times reported on Feb. 5 that, "California has a big��"and growing��"glut of power. ... The state's power plants are on track to be able to produce at least 21 percent more electricity than it needs by 2020."
The closure of Diablo will save us carbon emissions, money, and health and safety risks. Bravo to PG&E for its plans to turn away from nuclear to renewable resources.
-- Jane Swanson - San Luis Obispo Mothers for Peace