No, Mr. Henry, the increased maintenance activity at the Diablo Canyon nuclear plant is not a conspiracy by public officials and PG&E ("The year the music died," March 25).
Unit 2 was offline 25 percent of the time during 2020 and has been offline most of 2021 so far because of problems with the stator. While a failed stator would not cause a radioactive release, it would pose dangers to plant workers, and no electricity can be produced without it.
Recurring leaks of hydrogen gas caused shutdowns in July and October of 2020. The Dec. 2 closure was necessitated by excessive vibrations and lasted for several weeks. Unit 2 has only run a few days at a time in 2021, largely for purposes of testing whether PG&E has gotten the vibration problem under control.
And mind you, the ratepayers were charged nearly $100 million in 2019 to recondition the 30-year-old stator that still does not work reliably. Combine that with the fact that ratepayers are paying over-market prices for the energy produced at Diablo—$1.25 billion projected by PG&E for 2020—and you begin to wonder about a different conspiracy. Perhaps the California Public Utilities Commission and PG&E are in cahoots to keep this aging plant limping along until PG&E wants to close it in 2025.
Why not shut it down now and save us all a lot of money?
San Luis Obispo Mothers for Peace