Environmental news from California and beyond

« Previous | Greenspace Home | Next »

Report outlines problems at Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant


The reactor at Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant in San Luis Obispo operated for a year and a half with some emergency systems disabled, according to a 2010 safety review by the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

The incident was one of 14 “near-misses” the NRC uncovered in its inspections of nuclear power plants where problems had been occurring. An analysis by the group Union of Concerned Scientists concluded that “many of these significant events occurred because reactor owners, and often the NRC, tolerated known safety problems.”

The NRC found a range of problems at the 14 plants, including poor design, equipment failure, poor training and human error.
The issue at the Diablo Canyon plant, which is operated by Pacific Gas & Electric, involved malfunctioning valves that prevented other valves from opening. The valves were improperly repaired and subsequent tests failed to detect  the problem, according to the report.

Analysis by the Union of Concerned Scientists found that the NRC’s inspections suggest that nuclear plants “continue to experience problems with safety-related equipment and worker errors that increase the risk of damage to the reactor core.”

The  UCS report also cited three instances in which NRC inspectors aggressively pursued power plant operators to enforce safety standards.

-- Julie Cart

Photo: Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant. Credit: Los Angeles Times

Comments () | Archives (22)

The comments to this entry are closed.

I notice most of the remarks made when anyone ask for safety at the nuclear reactors the same people who have financial interest in the Nukes, show up at meetings and make their same irresponsible comments, "No Harm to the Public,little radiation here and there, in the food, in the air in the water. As long as the profiteers have their lobbyist, the nukes will always be safe, yet Japan said the same thing. I like what the Japan citizens are now saying to nuke profiteers, you go into the radioactive vessel and stay there for a couple of days, or hours...see how you like it, because we have to live with radioactive posion for thousands of years.

We need to keep the pressure on CAlifornia Law makers to insist on seismic studies before re-licensing remaining nuclear reactors. Enforce AB 1632 immediately.

Wake up is right. Diablo Canyon produces 20% of Northern California's electrity. Polution free, no carbon dioxide, no nothing. You worry about the potential danger of an accident, as we all should. But these plants are extraordinarly safe and even horrible accidents like the recent tsunami in Japan and Three Mile Island prove to carry very small effects on human health. Newer designs are safer and more reliable and are our olny means of producing affordable, clean power for all of us. Hysteria over Three Mile Island, no one was injured by the way, has force us to rely on coal which spews tons of polutants, including tons of radioactive poisons into the air every year, year after year. You and I breathe it. Miners die in accidents, people die from respritory ailments, and suffer asthma.
Take the time to learn about radiation so that you have the correct knowledge before you say things like "fog and nuclear fallout along the coast" it's ignorant.
As for green alternatives, take a look at the cost and the affect it has on everyday people. England is a good place to start looking.

Patty, maybe you should stop using electricity. That will mean we don't have to build new plants.

The comments here don't seem to need a social network to be polite.

The FaceBook based comments just might make the comments come from a pool of people who jump on the next big thing, and ignore those of us who are past that stage.

How about a requirement to have a Friendster account to comment? That would be a pool of people who jumped on the latest thing 15 years ago.

I remember when this plant was being built, right over a fault, & all the talk about safety, back in the late 70's/early 80's. There were numerous problems, even before it was up & running. The only place in the USA that I've seen what I consider proper safety procedures as regards nuclear power, is the US Navy!
And, you still have to get rid of the wastes! Where? NIMBY!

My dad worked at this plant in the 80's. He died of bone cancer.

One time, he was so "hot" (radioactive), he had to shower (decontamination) 17 times before his reading was low enough and they would let him leave.

Of course, there was no "crisis" that day, or the other days that he and the other workers were exposed.

Why is it known as a clean, safe form of energy? It isn't.

Accidents happen, people are human, mother nature will have her way and that's the way it is. But when it hits the fan at a nuclear plant, it's catastrophic.

Instead of investing in new nuclear facilities we should be investing in other, less harmful sources of energy. Money can be made there too, you know.

It's true some environmental groups have used accidents to oppose nuclear power. But their influence is small, despite the claims in this thread. Have environmentalists kept nuclear plants from being built? They may tell that to their membership, but bankers halted nuclear construction in the US. Investors saw too much risk to place $billion$ into assets that need a decade to begin making electricity and ROI. Recent quotes for a FL utility were $17 billion for a dual-reactor plant!! No right-minded investor considers such a project without big government subsidies, which are available now. And after the FL rate-payers nixed steep rate hikes, (pay now for power later) that project was also buried.

The big problem with nuclear power is that mistakes affect both those who support it, and those of us who don't.

The weather for today:
Late night and early morning low clouds, fog and nuclear fallout along the coast.

The 1986 nuclear reactor accident at Chernobyl in Ukraine spread radioactivity and death over eastern Europe and despair in the Western world’s nuclear power industry. Chernobyl, along with the non-lethal accident at Three Mile Island in Pennsylvania in 1979, sent the industry into decades of decline.

Enviro-groups will predictably leverage the new enviro-hysteria of “Fukushima” to stop the expansion of nuclear power in America. Just as they have used the examples of Chernobyl and Three Mile Island as pejoratives against the U.S.’s current 104 nuclear power plants that provide about 18% of our electricity. Nuclear power expansion is necessary in America for economic, security and environmental reasons. The energy from one pound of uranium is equivalent to 1.3 million pounds of coal energy. Nuclear power produces none of the greenhouse gases associated with global warming.

Just as the “green screams” of “BP” demonized our oil production and oil independence, listen for the next enviro-groups’ rallying cries of “Fukushima” to demonize our nuclear energy production and energy independence.

If we use nuclear power, we must embrace the disastrous consequences. A nuclear disaster WILL happen again, it is only a matter of time until a mistake gets made or some event disables another reactor.

It can't happen here until it does.

Given PG&E's great safety track record with incidents such as killing the residents of Hinkley with cancer and blowing up a entire residential neighborhood in San Bruno with a gas pipeline...maybe the NRC should be proactive and shut down Diablo Canyon before we all glow in the dark

so, who's surprised? PG&E is the company that loves you. They love the dead in San Bruno. Lie, die.

It never fails. After an airline disaster, the next two weeks is a media blitz of breathlessly recorded "near misses" at every airport in America. Get ready for the Great Radiation Review of 2011. It will have a star-studded two week run, featuring every nuclear facility in the nation. Yawn.


Nuclear power is very effective for combustion power but it's destroyed power also very much effective and we are seeing that to Japan. I've found especial Youtube video on:

So I think must be decrease the uses limit of Nuclear power. Otherwise we will destroyed day by day

Tell me it ain't so NRC.


The joke is on us, the US, we won.


Nice try TheMoreYouKnow... !
You're actually trying to besmirch the credibility of a watchdog group and label this as propaganda, but you're the pot that's calling the kettle black.
What's your stake in nuclear power?
Better reinvest, because the public is not having this anymore.

Dia blo Canyon is an accident waiting to happen. The nuclear industry is full of third rate people - as who in their right mind would want to work in it? And the so-called regulators are rubber stamps due to the re volving door with regulators to industry. It is the fox watching the henhouse.

That this nuke is sighted only a few miles from a major fault (which wasn't discovered until design was complete and was under construction) is unbelievable. What makes this extremely dangerous is that the plant is only designed to withstand a 6.75 quake while the nearby fault experienced a 7.1 quake as recently as 1927 - a mere blip in time. And that anyone continues to suggest the nearby faults are only capable of 7.1 quake is either delusional, a liar or both.

And the tragedy of it all is that Diablo Canyon is placed in an extremely fragile and pristine environment where any leak would be a national travesty.

Nukes are kept going, more than for their very expensive energy, to produce for the military the nuclear triggers needed to make the bombs go off. Solar and wind are much cheaper, are not dangerous and are virtually untapped, for how they outproduce nukes.

Diablo Canyon's is the dumbest of a very stupid technology, radioactive fuel rods designed to BOIL WATER to create the 18th century technology of STEAM POWER. Diablo Canyon, like the nuclear furnaces in Japan, is subject to massive earthquakes, built on one of the faultlines which may slip as by-product of Japan's quake, and so recreate Japan's radioactive hell in California.

We must find an honest leader who will take the "risk" to close down these satanic plants, and replace them immediately with clean, green and much more cost-efficient 21st century energy.

Just so everyone knows, The Union of Concerned Scientists is anti-nuclear lobbying group. They hold no power in the industry and just like every other lobbying group, they will sieze apon any crisis to further their agenda. They are purposely stating things in a misleading manner. Do your research and look at sources such as INPO, the nuclear industry's watch dog group that determines how much they pay in insurance.

They keep telling us a meltdown could never happen here.

But just a week ago they were saying the same thing in Japan!

When are we going to wake up to the lunacy of allowing greed trumping human life. Diablo was built on a fault. How insane is that? I vote that we follow the Germans and that we shut down all our nuclear plants. Until and, when, we can safely dispose of the nuclear waste, we are tickling the dragon's tail. What is really highlighted here is that we can't trust the NRC to protect us.

Wake up people.


Recommended on Facebook


In Case You Missed It...


Recent News
Invitation to connect on LinkedIn |  December 12, 2013, 9:58 am »
New Cook Islands Shark Sanctuary proposed |  December 8, 2011, 8:00 am »