The California State Lands Commission meeting on June 28, 2016 included a number of articulate, knowledgable, rational and emotional talks by people who took time to attend the meeting and to deliver their public comments. Some had carefully prepared remarks, others spoke directly from their hearts. Some had a prop or a graph, others relied on spoken words and the messages printed on their tee shirts.
Of course, there were also plenty of opponents at the meeting who also provided their thoughts and emotions.
Without any more commentary at this time, I’d like to share some of the supporting comments with you. I hope they will help to inspire others to stay informed about opportunities to take similar actions. People who support nuclear energy have allowed the opposition too many opportunities to dominate the public conversation. We need to change that situation as quickly as possible.
Kristin Zaitz, a co-founder of Mothers for Nuclear, is a civil engineer who works at Diablo Canyon. She is speaking for herself, her children and her fellow residents of California, not for her employer.
Heather Matteson, another co-founder of Mothers for Nuclear, is an operator and procedure writer at Diablo Canyon. She is speaking for herself and her daughter. Heather’s daughter helps her mom deliver a heartfelt speech.
Dr. Gene Nelson is the government liaison for Californians for Green Nuclear Power. He currently teaches at Cuesta College in the Physical Sciences Division. He is speaking for himself, not his employer.
Dr. Michael Marinack describes the backroom deal making that resulted in a lease extension conditioned on a promise to close Diablo Canyon in the prime of its operating life.
Emma Redfoot is a graduate of an environmental studies program who has spent a couple of semesters working in South America. Her experience convinced her of the importance of energy abundance and inspired her to decide to begin a program to study and earn a master’s degree in nuclear engineering.
Cesar Penafiel holds a masters degree in energy and environmental policy from Columbia University. He speaks about the need for nuclear energy to enable environmental progress.
Now, for a major contrast, I’d like to share the comment provided by Matt Renner, the Executive Director of an anti Diablo Canyon group that grandiosely calls itself the World Business Academy. Somehow he has been taught that Diablo Canyon is “an atomic bomb” (1:06) and that its “regular emissions” would cause a high probability that his infant daughter — if he had one — would die. (1:52).
Erich Pica, the President of Friends of the Earth United States, was given twice as much time (4 minutes) as other speakers to celebrate the victory that his organization believes it has achieved. He noted that his organization was founded in 1969 with an initial primary focus of stopping the construction of Diablo Canyon. He neglected to mention that the primary funding source for that nascent organization was an oil and gas oligarch named Robert Anderson, the CEO of the Atlantic Richfield Company (ARCO).
I’ll conclude with a later interaction between Gavin Newsom and Erich Pica that should send cold shivers down the spine of everyone who believes that closing existing nuclear plants is fundamentally wrong and dangerous on a number of different levels. People like Pica think that the Diablo Canyon deal is a model and that its power output really will be replaced by unreliable sources like the wind and the sun.
California will be able to make do without Diablo Canyon if it closes, but the end result will not be cheaper, it will not be cleaner, it will not be as abundant and it will not be as reliable. A major part of the plan entails customers choosing to do without power in order to help prevent the grid from overuse.