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Diablo Canyon Power Plant, Avila Beach, California

The Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant, owned by Pacific Gas & Electric Company, is located in San Louis Obispo County, California, along Avila Beach. Like many nuclear power plants, it is near a source of water to use as a cooling agent during the electricity generation process. In the case of the Diablo Canyon Power Plant, this water is drawn from the Pacific Ocean.

The plant was designed with safety as a top priority. Because it is located near fault lines, researchers spend nearly 15 years developing safety mechanisms for the plant. For example, it is designed to automatically shut down in the event of an earthquake. Despite these precautions, there have been public concerns about the plant’s overall safety since it began operations in 1985.

Diablo Power Plant Controversy

Although construction of the plant began in 1968, it would be nearly two decades before it came online. This was largely due to protests and litigation concerning the plant’s safety. At this time, a primary concern for members of the nearby area was the possibility of earthquakes which could cause a meltdown at the plant. Pacific Gas & Electric responded with extensive research into seismic activity in the area and a careful building design.

However, this is not the only controversy surrounding the plant. For example, when the plant began making plans to store waste and hazardous materials on its grounds, members of the community began to protest. Currently, the plant is undergoing plans to store radioactive materials in above-ground facilities, which has sparked considerable debate.

Another concern is the Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant’s alleged failure to meet legal environmental regulations. In 1997, the plant faced a multi-million dollar lawsuit claiming that it had failed to publish complete information about the number of sea plants and animals pulled into its cooling tanks. Some environmentalists remain concerned about the effects the plant may have on local flora and fauna.

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