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Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant

Clean Water Report Card for California: Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant

March 1, 2000

Diablo Canyon’s long-expired permit, issued in 1990, allows PG&E to discharge 2.5 billion gallons of hot water, used to cool the plant’s nuclear reactor, into the Pacific Ocean each day. These discharges have caused substantial damage to marine life, wiping out many species of fish and kelp. Diablo Canyon is under the jurisdiction of the Central Coast regional water board.

But PG&E isn’t even complying with the conditions of the expired permit. After an investigation by state and federal regulators, in 1997, PG&E promised in court to stop filing fraudulent permit reports covering up the full extent of the harmful effects of its discharges. In Congressional testimony, a federal investigator said: "The PG&E reports purported to show that the cooling system . . . complied with the Clean Water Act by employing available technology to minimize adverse environmental impacts. Information PG&E left out suggested otherwise. For example, up to ninety percent of larval fish in the cooling water system perish." (FNS 1997.)