Gavin Newsom’s $12 Billion Radioactive Diablo Scam Could Soon Be Twisting In The Wind

Diablo Canyon Power Plant. Wikipedia.

Diablo Canyon’s infamous $12 billion nuclear war is raging hot and heavy in Sacramento. Citizen action may soon decide the outcome.

In the midst of a massive budget crisis, Governor Gavin Newsom is slashing social programs left and right. But he still wants to subsidize PG&E’s two money-losing atomic reactors near San Luis Obispo. The cash he wants from the state comes as part of a $1.4 billion package he strong-armed through the legislature in 2022. Much of that is coming from the feds.

But now he wants $400 million from California taxpayers.

And the legislature— amidst a fierce public uproar— may be on the brink of a definitive “NO!” Safe energy groups like the San Luis Obispo Mothers for Peace are rallying public pressure to stop the bailout.

The fight is doubly galling, because when he was Lieutenant-Governor, Newsom co-signed a 2017 landmark plan to phase out Diablo’s twin uninsured reactors. They have a long history of structural and legal problems. They are surrounded by at least a dozen significant seismic faults… and sit just 45 miles from the San Andreas.

Now four decades of age, their innards are cracked, rotted and embrittled. They risk spewing apocalyptic clouds that could turn California into a radioactive wasteland. They regularly emit heat, chemical pollutants and radioactive carbon-14 into the eco-sphere.

Rooftop solar, off-shore wind and advancing battery technologies have long since left Diablo in the dust on safety, price, reliability, efficiency and job creation. For at least several hours on most days now, the state gets more than 100% of its electricity from renewables.

Photovoltaic panels in central California now regularly produce below-market electricity that is literally “too cheap to meter.” Without Diablo gumming up the grid, and with limits on how much locally-generated power can be sold out of state, rates would plummet with no serious threat of blackouts.

Independent experts now calculate that it would cost California more than $12 billion in over-market pricing to run Diablo through 2030. The company itself concedes the cost would exceed $8 billion. PG&E has also petitioned the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to run Diablo through 2045, with potential excess costs gouging the public for tens of billions, accompanied by enormous job losses.

Amidst a “Solartopian” tsunami of new renewables and storage batteries, Diablo expensively jams the grid and raises the risk of blackouts. It employs just 1500 workers, versus more than 70,000 in rooftop solar alone, not counting wind, efficiency and battery production.

To better serve PG&E, Newsom’s personally appointed Public Utilities Commission has thrown the state’s rate structure into chaos, slashing at least 17,000 solar jobs while sticking California with the nation’s second-highest electric rates (behind Hawaii).

In 2022, Newsom trashed the nuclear phase-out he signed in 2017. With no public hearings and a strong-armed midnight vote, he demanded a $1.4 billion “forgivable loan” for PG&E, whose record profits went in part to the company’s CEO, who in 2022 was paid some $40 million.

Most Californians get zero power from Diablo. But Newsom wants to soak all taxpayers to cover the PG&E bailout and to foot the multi-billion dollar bills for its on-going over-market costs.

Fierce legislative resistance has put Diablo’s future in doubt. Consumer and safe energy activists throughout the state are campaigning hard against the bailout. On June 15, the Legislature voted nearly unanimously to slash it by $400 million.

If the legislators and their green backers succeed, California’s transition to a non-radioactive carbon-free energy economy could create countless new jobs while saving the state billions… and ducking the next Three Mile Island, Chernobyl and/or Fukushima.

With the world’s fifth-largest economy, California could join the world’s fourth-largest economy— Germany, which shut 19 reactors on the road to converting to wind, solar and batteries— in a sustainable post-nuclear world.

Harvey Wasserman wrote THE PEOPLE’S SPIRAL OF US HISTORY: FROM JIGONSASEH TO SOLARTOPIA.  Most Mondays @ 2-4pm PT, he co-convenes the Green Grassroots Election Protection Zoom (www.electionprotection2024).  The Mothers for Peace ( could use your help in the struggle to shut the Diablo Canyon nukes.