A photograph I shot of the Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant at dawn. Notice the goats grazing on the hillside! Greetings from California’s central coast! I’ve taken over time with a number of completely different digital cameras. In case you are not already aware of Diablo Canyon, let me just start by saying that the plant is constructed round two nuclear reactors which each produce 1,a hundred megawatts of electricity. All told, DCPP cranks out sufficient energy for over three million folks! The plant sits on a gorgeous stretch of the Pacific coast simply west of San Luis Obispo, California. Because the plant site is off limits to the public, and shielded from view by a coastal mountain range, virtually no one however the plant staff will ever see the Diablo Canyon facility. But as you proceed slightly additional down the page, I’ll show you what you are lacking. I’m fairly assured that my view on the technique to work within the morning is too much better than yours!

But earlier than I am going any further, I’d just prefer to say that I labored at Diablo Canyon for a long time, in loads of various roles that have given me an important take a look at how things work and the way the plant is managed. I’ve seen much that has impressed me. San Luis Obispo county can actually sleep nicely at evening understanding that Diablo Canyon is working safely. In light of the disaster at the Fukushima nuclear plant in Japan, I’m sure lots of persons are skeptical about the thought of Diablo Canyon being secure. But once you understand the important differences between the Fukushima plant and Diablo Canyon, you may see why what happened at Fukushima simply couldn’t occur at DCPP. Diablo Canyon has two major features that would totally forestall a Fukushima-model disaster from taking place here. First off, the plant sits on a bluff that’s 85 feet above the waterline. So, there’s absolutely no manner that a tidal wave could wipe out Diablo Canyon’s emergency cooling system.

The decision to construct the Fukushima plant at shore degree is finally what doomed it. It survived the earthquake fairly well, but the next tidal wave knocked out the emergency energy source that might have pumped cooling water to the reactors. Diablo Canyon, sitting on a bluff eighty five feet above the ocean, is solely not vulnerable to a tidal wave. The other thing (and that is the part that people actually don’t seem to learn about) is that Diablo Canyon has one thing that almost all nuclear energy plants haven’t got… ABOVE the plant on a hillside to the east. Because these water storage reservoirs sit up in the hillside above the plant, all it could take is opening a valve and gravity would do the remaining… So, if the practically not possible were to happen and Diablo should lose all electrical power including each one of the SIX emergency diesel generators… The whole downside at Fukushima resulted from the fact that that they had no strategy to pump cooling water in to maintain their reactor core cool.

A Fukushima situation is simply not possible at Diablo Canyon. I also needs to point out that the Diablo Canyon energy plant has been built to withstand a a lot stronger earthquake than might probably happen in our space. When engineers speak about a structure’s potential to withstand an earthquake, they speak about peak ground acceleration or PGA. A gal is defined as acceleration of 1 centimeter per second squared (1 cm/s²). March of 2011 really produced a PGA of 550 gal. Now let’s see how California’s nuclear power plants stack as much as that. The San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (close to San Diego and Los Angeles) was constructed to withstand a lot stronger shaking than what was experienced at Fukushima. San Onofre was designed for PGA of 657 gal. 735 gal of peak ground acceleration. You also have to grasp the concept of “margin of safety”. Fukushima was designed to handle peak ground acceleration of 441 gal and actually withstood 550 gal fairly properly in the 2011 quake.

On the time of my retirement in 2020, my job title was “Administrative Specialist”. My job involved many alternative duties, however just about all of them involved using my palms. One factor that has really saved my PG&E profession fascinating is that I have been in a position to rotate in and out of different jobs over the years. Some of the job assignments have been extra glamorous than others! After that, I spent a number of years on a crew that performed hourly hearth inspections all through the plant. I even spent a bit time on the “housekeeping” crew doing the actual glamorous assignments (!) like emptying trash cans and choosing up cigarette butts. Essentially the most demanding project I ever had was throughout one in every of Diablo Canyon’s refueling outages. It’s an enormous steel tank stuffed with piping that converts sizzling water in to steam. During a refueling outage, the tank is drained of water, and somebody must go in and set up a metal cover to a pipe.

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