Diablo Canyon’s Post Nuclear Future is Blowing in the Wind

By Paul Gipe

The following is post-nuclear vision for Diablo Canyon.

The Alliance for Nuclear Responsibility (A4NR) created the postcard some time ago. A4NR’s David Weissman pointed me to it and I’ve been planning to post it for at least the last year or two.

With yesterday’s announcement that Pacific Gas and Electric Company plans to close both units at Diablo Canyon in 2025 when their operating license expires, there’s no time like the present to illustrate what we should do with the site—post nuclear.

Wind turbines, of course, are quite prominent on the hillsides above the plant, but A4NR didn’t discriminate against other renewables. There are fields of solar panels covering the parking lots and even on the roof of the reactor building. There are even some offshore wave plants outside Diablo Canyon’s breakwater.

While this vision of the future may have seemed fanciful at one time, it made perfect sense then—and more so now. Coastal California offers good winds, waves, and sun.

Moreover, there really is no other beneficial use for the site other than wildlife and habitat preservation. Both of which are compatible with responsibly developed wind and solar as demonstrated by the recent completion of a modern large wind turbine by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds in Great Britain. No planning commission is going to approve rows of expensive condominiums next to defunct and aging nuclear reactors that sit alongside several earthquake faults.

Let’s get started planning Diablo Canyon’s renewable future.