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Gavin Newsom’s Radioactive Anti-Solar Double Back-Stab

-by Harvey Wasserman

Governor Gavin Newsom is back-stabbing California’s energy future-- twice-- with catastrophic results.

At the aptly-named Diablo Canyon twin nukes, he wants a $1.4 billion handout so the twice-bankrupted Pacific Gas & Electric can play chicken with a dozen earthquake faults poised to send radioactive clouds pouring into Los Angeles, the Central Valley, the Bay Area.

Newsom also stands by as the Public Utilities Commission is set to gut California’s booming rooftop solar industry with taxes and regulations, sabotaging efforts to fight both global warming emissions and soaring electric rates.

Newsom’s horrifying atomic embrace risks a radioactive apocalypse.

A 2015 NRC site inspector’s report warned that Diablo cannot withstand a credible seismic shock.

A February, 2019 petition, with some 2600 signatures ( asked that he merely inspect the plant for structural defects. He still refuses, even though the Nuclear Regulatory Commission says Unit One is seriously embrittled, a defect that could cause an apocalyptic explosion.

The danger is immediate.

In 2018, after two years of deep negotiations, a broad coalition agreed to shut Diablo by 2025. Gov. Jerry Brown signed a deal approved by the legislature in concert with local officials and citizens, labor unions, environmental groups and regulators. PG&E approved knowing it could not meet environmental and safety laws without spending billions. Instead, it would let its NRC license lapse-- along with routine maintenance.

Four years later Diablo is an uninsured shambles, its vast structural defects uncorrected and its vital maintenance lapsed.

PG&E’s operational history is literally criminal. In 2010 its poor maintenance caused a San Bruno explosion that incinerated 19 houses and killed 8 people. Later it sparked massive northern California fires that incinerated countless trees while killing more than 80 people and destroying the town of Paradise, whose citizens have yet to be fully compensated. In both cases the company pled guilty to federal felonies. But none of its executives went to prison.

Today PG&E operates two massive uninsured reactors that are riddled with defects and surrounded by fault lines. When the San Andreas (45 miles away) or one of the many nearby fissures turn them into hot rubble, radioactive clouds will pour into Los Angeles and, with shifting winds, eventually into the Central Valley and Bay Area. Aside from a small federal slush fund, there is no private insurance to cover anyone’s loss of life, health or property.

Newsom seems ok with this.

He also seems to like the fossil/nuclear-sponsored package of anti-solar taxes and regulations likely to soon be rubber-stamped by the CPUC. If adopted, with Newsom’s approval, that package will call a screeching halt to thousands of rooftop solar projects that could otherwise create thousands of jobs and billions of clear kilowatt-hours supplanting the state’s energy needs and fighting climate chaos.

Newsom’s double-assault on California’s clean energy future could only be meant to serve the fossil/nuclear industry. The 2018 deal to shut Diablo includes massive fast-moving plans easily supplanting the reactors’ capacity with green generators that will not melt or explode.

Not trustworthy

The Diablo reactors were designed in the pre-digital 1960s and have been operating nearly 40 years. When they opened in the mid 1980s P&E was forced to make public a major installation error. In 1973 they admitted to knowledge of the active off-shore Hosgri fault, for which their construction still does not account.

Un-inspected and uninsured, Diablo could render all of California permanently uninhabitable. Its orderly shutdown plan came from hundreds of people working in good faith toward a successful, now-proven solution to the state’s long-term energy needs.

For no reason related to the public good, Newsom now wants to trash in two weeks what took two years to draft, and which has been successfully moving ahead for four more since.

Meanwhile his anointed nukes are under-maintained and steadily deteriorating, with nearby seismic shock centers posed at hair-trigger to kill us all.

Newsom’s combined pro-nuclear/anti-solar psychosis comes with grotesque contempt for those crafted a successful plan forward for the state’s energy future. It flaunts an inexcusable willingness to for no good reason throw the dice against our lives, our children and everything we all treasure.

Please call your state Senators and Representatives, along with the Public Utilities Commission, and/or sign this petition demanding that Diablo be shut.

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