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Poll finds strong local and statewide support for extending operations of California’s Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant

Newly released polling shows strong local support for extending the operations of the Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant, California’s largest source of carbon free energy generation. Statewide support for extending operations of the plant was also strong, according to the poll conducted by FM3 Research. Gov. Gavin Newsom recently announced his intent to explore options to continue operations at the Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant. The poll was commissioned by Carbon Free California with input and support from Data for Progress.

Diablo Canyon Power Plant is a nuclear plant located in San Luis Obispo, operated by PG&E. In January 2018, the California Public Utilities Commission approved a multiparty settlement to shut down fully and permanently the Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant when the current federal license period for the plant’s second unit expires in 2025. Diablo Canyon currently provides 8% of California’s in-state electricity production and 15% of its carbon-free electricity production.

A November 2021 assessment of Diablo Canyon by a team from Stanford and MIT concluded that delaying the retirement of Diablo Canyon to 2035 would reduce California power sector carbon emissions by more than 10% from 2017 levels and reduce reliance on gas; save $2.6 billion in power system costs, and bolster system reliability to mitigate brownouts. If operated to 2045 and beyond, Diablo Canyon could save up to $21 billion in power system costs and spare 90,000 acres of land from use for energy production, while meeting coastal protection requirements.

Further, a hydrogen plant connected to Diablo Canyon could produce clean hydrogen to meet growing demand for zero-carbon fuels, at a cost up to 50% less than hydrogen produced from solar and wind power, with a much smaller land footprint.

We found that Californians broadly support the continued use of Diablo Canyon Power Plant to generate electricity. Closer to the plant, in San Luis Obispo County specifically, we saw that support intensify.

—Dave Metz, partner and president at FM3 Research

Statewide, 58% of voters support continued operation of California’s last existing nuclear power plant, while 32% oppose. In San Luis Obispo County, 74% of voters indicated support for continued operation of Diablo Canyon, with 56% of respondents “strongly” supporting.

There was strong agreement among voters on the most important benefits of continuing to operate Diablo Canyon, including reducing the likelihood of blackouts (77%), saving more than $2 billion on electric bills (76%), and providing a reliable source of electricity as the state transitions to wind and solar power (75%).

California voters overwhelmingly approve of carbon-free energy—and support further use of nuclear energy. It’s clear that these voters support the Diablo Canyon Power Plant remaining open to reduce electricity costs, enhance grid reliability, and meet our emissions reduction goals.

—Danielle Deiseroth, lead climate strategist at Data for Progress

The poll provided detailed information about the issue, testing arguments on both sides. Support for extending the use of Diablo Canyon rose to 60% after voters heard pros and cons about the plant’s continued operation.

Overall, the poll found that California voters have become more comfortable with nuclear energy over time, with solid majorities saying they approve of the use of nuclear power to generate electricity and that its benefits outweigh its risks.

Carbon Free California commissioned the poll of 620 registered voters statewide January 11-19, 2022, plus an oversample of San Luis Obispo County voters yielding 217 total interviews.



The case for California not being as dumb as the German policy of shutting up excellent very low carbon power with the vast majority of the costs already sunk is extraordinarily strong.


They could desalinate water in the cooling section


Some individuals seem to suffer from a short memory. For my part, I can still recall very plainly the distressing incidents of Chernobyl, Fukushima and Three Mile Island. Besides these incidents, there is the everlasting problem of secure storage of radioactive wastes for thousands of years, Maybe someone is so kind to offer his backyard for storage purposes?
I think that the Germans had sufficient foresight and were not dumb at all on the contrary to the stupid Russians that just recently barely managed to scrape by a catastrophe in Chernobyl.

Maybe someone is so kind to offer his backyard for storage purposes?

Sure thing; put it in mine.  I'll use it to heat my house and garage.  Just don't bother me with a bunch of pointless security crap like guards and inspections, though I'll take some free fences.


I've got my emergency plan if my local (15 miles) away reactor were to explode, perhaps due to having insane Russians in charge disregarding any sensible controls.

I'll shut the windows for a couple of weeks

The casualties in Fukushima were due to innumerate hysterics enforcing the removal of people, not due to radiation.


Keep Diablo Canyon online assuming all the critical oversight, naysayers educate yourselves about how urgent it is to reduce carbon emissions ASAP! Yes we need to sort out the storage problem as Finland has (READ IT!):


The central coast as fresh water shortages
desalinating seawater will help
This could be any power plant near the ocean


Finland's approach is both overkill and wasteful.  Used LWR fuel has many elements which can be recycled; both Elsium and Moltex propose to separate the plutonium, uranium and fission products (imperfectly, not a proliferation risk) to generate separate streams of starting fuel, breeding material and non-reactor material (which can yet be useful in many ways).  The third stream's radioactivity falls to less than the original uranium ore in about 500 years.

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