Friends of the Earth was formed in 1969 to oppose nuclear power and has targeted the Diablo Canyon Power Plant in San Luis Obispo, California for closure. The Diablo Canyon plant has been in operation since 1985 and is California’s last nuclear power plant. All of the other nuclear plants the Golden State has had have been shut down by environmentalist campaigns save Diablo Canyon … until now.
The environmentalist group alleges that the safety standards used by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) to approve the plant does not take into account the Shoreline Fault which is the biggest fault line in the area and necessitates a temporary (yeah, right) shut down. In order to achieve their goal, Friends of the Earth has taken the matter to court for a judge to review Diablo Canyon’s operating license. Meanwhile, Pacific Gas & Electric (PG & E) accuses the group of mischaracterizing the facts surrounding earthquake safety at the nuclear plant. PG & E maintains that the Diablo Canyon plant is safe and the utility company has followed all NRC requirements to ensure the nuclear facility can withstand tremors from any of the area fault lines. Closing down the Diablo Canyon plant can add more of a strain to California or San Luis Obispo’s power grid resulting in rolling blackouts, but there is something more to this story.
Presently, the price of natural gas is around $4 per thousand cubic feet in the US. Europe pays about $15 per thousand cubic feet while Japan (who switched to natural gas after closing their nuclear plants due the Fukushima incident) pays about $18. With the EPA using studies linking global warming to human activity related to fossil fuel use in order to justify their new rules on carbon emissions that are resulting in the shut down of coal-fired plants and with environmentalist groups working to close down nuclear plants, like Diablo Canyon, it gives gang green a prime opportunity to push for natural gas (one of their pet green energy sources) as our primary power source. If the environmentalists are successful and this happens, be prepared to pay Europe or Japan-style prices since natural gas a prices will spike four fold. It isn’t paranoia when environmentalists are truly out to screw you.