The Diablo Canyon atomic power reactors should be closed in 2019, not 2024 and 2025, according to expert witness testimony filed by the San Luis Obispo Mothers for Peace (SLOMFP) to the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) January 27, 2017. Fairewinds Associates chief engineer Arnie Gundersen provided expert witness testimony showing that as the Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) Diablo Canyon atomic reactors have aged, many aspects of the nuclear plant present safety concerns, including embrittlement of the nuclear reactor and the likelihood of many mechanical failures, especially if an earthquake were to occur.
Mechanical failure risks increase significantly as atomic power reactors age and reach the end of their design and fabrication life, a concept similar to attempting to keep an old car running.
"Diablo Canyon was designed in the mid-1960s. Some of its parts are as dated as rabbit ears on a black and white TV. This atomic power reactor is old and tired, and it is not reliable or safe. The faster Diablo Canyon closes, the safer Californians will be,” Mr. Gundersen said.
Replacement costs anticipated by PG&E for these outmoded Diablo Canyon mechanical parts and equipment necessary to operate the reactor for 7 to 8 more years are well in excess of a reasonable investment by PG&E ratepayers. Mr. Gundersen’s testimony also illuminates the degraded condition of tens of thousands of often neglected switches, plates, springs, shock absorbers, pipes, and other components of this aged atomic power reactor that are in danger of failing and causing emergency shut down well before its scheduled closing in 2024.
Arnie recently appeared on the EcoShock podcast and radio show to discuss extreme nuclear dangers with host Alex Smith. One of Alex's listeners told him that "Even if one reactor blows in America or Europe... the impact and the number of dead will be far less than the millions of all species who will die in a rapid climate shift" Listen as Arnie debunks this claim and covers even more topics, such as Trump and his call to develop more nuclear weapons, the relationship between the nuclear power industry and nuclear weapons development, and the risks of keeping old reactors operating past their prime.
Nuclear Crack Down:
Did you know that embrittled nuclear reactors could shatter like glass? Watch Fairewinds Energy Education’s Nuclear Science Guy Arnie Gundersen demonstrate reactor embrittlement and imagine the shattering glass as a shattering nuclear reactor vessel. What makes embrittlement so dangerous and frightening is that during an emergency when the reactor must be cooled down quickly, the rush of cold water necessary to cool it could create a scenario that looks like the one in our video. You will only see steam escaping in our video, but in an embrittled shattering reactor vessel, that steam would be highly radioactive.
The Economist: Construction of most nuclear-power reactors is behind schedule
In an age of increasing and readily available renewable energy options aimed at reducing carbon emissions and creating clean, reliable energy, almost two-thirds of the 55 atomic power plants currently under construction are well behind schedule, according to the Global Nuclear Power database. In the United States, the most recent atomic power plant built (Watts Bar 2) took up to 44 years to build. These delays have occurred due in part to enormous economic costs, manufacturing delays and safety concerns. In addition, the two newest atomic power designs, the European Pressurized Reactor (EPR) and Westinghouse’s AP1000 are not proving to be any safer or less costly.
Forbes: U.S. Solar Energy Employs More People Than Oil, Coal And Gas Combined
Last year, in the United States the Solar Power industry employed roughly 374,000 people. That’s more people than were employed in traditional coal, oil, and gas energy industries combined. Moreover, solar power accounted for 43 percent of the electric power generation industry’s workforce in 2016, while fossil fuels employed an estimated 22 percent, according to a new report from the U.S. Department of Energy. As Fairewinds Energy Education has repeatedly asserted: renewable energy projects are good news for the American economy and the creation of U.S. factories and jobs.