Newsom: Calif. Wouldn’t Build Diablo Plant Today

Thursday, 17 Mar 2011 08:48 AM

By Hiram Reisner

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California Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom says in light of the Japanese catastrophe, if his earthquake-prone state knew what it knows today about constructing nuclear plants, there is no way it would build the Diablo Canyon facility on a fault line. Newsom also warns California has not done enough to reinforce vulnerable buildings.

newsom, california, diablo, canyon, nuclear“We have the Diablo Canyon nuclear plant … it’s right there on a fault line,” Newsom said Thursday on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” “There’s tremendous amount of concern about that.

“There’s no way with what we know today that we would build that plant as we built it,” Newsom said. “And people are rightly concerned about it. You’re in a state where you have three faults that are well overdue for a major seismic activity – for a major earthquake – so this is an obvious and pointed concern.”

Newsom, a former mayor of San Francisco, which experienced a serious earthquake in 1989, noted that event “was not supposed to be the big one.”

“We have soft-story buildings in San Francisco – thousands of them – that haven’t been retrofitted. These are those corner buildings with garages below them, that literally buckle and collapse in modest earthquakes,” he said. “So, again, we have a lot of work to do, man-made, of course, and with regard to Mother Nature.”

Newsom was asked whether the crisis in Japan has altered his view on nuclear energy and whether he believed the reactors on fault lines should be shut down.

“I want to say that – but I have to be honest with folks: What is your positive alternative, and how do you seriously address the issue of climate change?” Newsom asked. “How are you honestly going to rollback your greenhouse-gas emissions – how are we going to reach those goals – without providing alternatives to fossil fuels, to coal plants, and the like?

“We’ve got to include that [nuclear energy] in the mix in the future.”

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