Wednesday, February 18, 2015

The Nuclear World of San Luis Obispo

Oh, those kooky Californians.
For the first time in the 40-plus-year history of San Luis Obispo County's only nuclear power plant, individuals gathered Monday to support Diablo Canyon's continued operation rather than oppose it.
"It's always been the adversaries," Ellie Ripley, of Arroyo Grande, said about the several decades worth of protests and public outcry aimed at closing Diablo Canyon Power Plant. "Not all nuclear plants have adversaries."
I like that construction – “San Luis Obispo County’s only nuclear power plant” – it’s actually California’s only nuclear power plant after the closing of San Onofre, but this is in a local newspaper. It’s not just politics that’s local to a local paper – it’s everything.
How did Ripley get involved with a pro-nuclear group? And why?
A voice for those such as Ripley, who led tours at Diablo Canyon for 23 years, was often silenced by the voices against nuclear energy, which is why Orcutt resident Bill Gloege formed the all-citizens group, Californians for Green Nuclear Power, and helped organize Monday's rally, he said.
"I was frustrated by all the false information put out about nuclear power," Gloege said. "I knew it wasn't true."
This is actually, in my experience, pretty rare – not that people support nuclear energy – polls are consistent that it is well supported – but that they’d more-or-less spontaneously group together and make their fondness for the atom known. People are more likely to protest something they don’t like or want, not what they do like and want. It’s a bit unusual for people to use the techniques of anti-nuclear protest in the name of advocacy, but there you are. It can be done.

Now, anti-nuclear groups have scored points here and there, but their arguments, never the greatest to start with, have become increasingly tinny. “Over the years, the nuclear plant [Diablo Canyon] has been at the forefront of numerous government meetings where watchdog groups like Mothers for Peace have repeatedly called for its closure.”

Yet Diablo Canyon has been puttering along for 25 years without incident. Maybe it’s time for a change. Grandmothers for Peace? After all, their children are now grown with children of their own. So if all their calls for closure have not borne fruit – and were never likely to – and all the Cassandra-like portents of doom have come to naught, what does a disappointed mother for peace do? Keep on with it, I guess, with walkers if necessary, until the job’s done.

In this context, it’s nice to have a gang like Californians for Green Nuclear Energy around to pose against the anti-nuclear mob.

But I’m projecting. On the basis of the story, CGNE’s members seem like nice folks standing up for something that’s important to them. It’s a real tonic to know they’re there and, in fact, ever so discreetly, Diablo Canyon should slip them cookies and punch whenever they’re outside the plant. It’s lucky to have them.

Great story with a decided local angle by April Charlton of the Lompoc (Calif.) Record – worth a full read. Be sure to visit CGNP’s Facebook page and like the heck out of them.


jimwg said...

This is more feel-good than PR practical. If there are pro-nuke locals then they should pass the cup to produce some educational pro-nuclear ADs to get the positive nuke word out in public. It royally works for Puppy Rescue.

James Greenidge
Queens NY

Dr Gene Nelson said...

As the organizer and publicist of the DCPP support rally on 16 February 2015, I appreciate NEI's recognition of this event. We believe that this was one of the first such support rallies for a nuclear power plant anywhere in the U.S. This activity should be emulated by groups supporting nuclear power plants across the country. I'd be pleased to share some hints and tips for success with any other interested organizers.

Anonymous said...

A very good performing plant historically...if only CA had more outspoken residents with the understanding of the benefits as to what this plant has given them...then perhaps the twin units wouldn't be flying solo these days.

Dr Gene Nelson said...

@jimwg: Thanks for your comment. This is one of CGNP's initial steps. We are currently working on community education outreach and will generate advertisements once our organization has a funding base. CGNP has been participating in a local talk radio program on KVEC 920 AM. (Podcasts are available.) We are also looking into community access TV broadcasts.

Anonymous said...

Diablo Canyon offers a great source of diverse energy that has proven to be reliable in its 30 years of operation and a great neighbor in the community. The plant and employees support the local community and schools with volunteer time and taxes. More importantly as Californians face huge state debt, environmental issues like drought and pollution, and growing dependence singular energy models, this asset offers a safe, economical, clean, and diverse energy source.

Anonymous said...

Great outreach to the community. Good ideas take hold one person at a time...and it's time for a change in thinking. The environment would be much cleaner and safer had we kept going 30yrs ago. Now we are faced with the reality of climate change.
The drought in California is a start reminder of our need for options and technology. Just ask the gamers in Fresno.

Unknown said...

"Usually Rallies are AGAINST something"

Actually our Californians for Green Nuclear Power rally WAS against something - radical climate change that can ruin our beautiful world forever.

We in CGNP believe emission-free nuclear reactors are the most powerful way to fight global warming.

Bill Gloege
PS: check our web site:
contact us at