Former Nuclear Critics Issue Support for Extending Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant

(August 26, 2022) – Today, a group of former critics of nuclear power issued a letter to Gov. Gavin Newsom and legislators encouraging them to continue the safe operation of Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant.

The letter is signed by Charles Komanoff, a lead witness for ratepayer advocates in California’s investigations of Diablo Canyon’s cost overruns in the 1980s, Stewart Brand, cofounder of the Global Business Network and editor of the Whole Earth Catalog, and Armond Cohen, president of Clean Air Task Force.

The signatories assert that the threats of climate change justify the continued operation of California’s largest source of carbon-free energy.

Dear Gov. Newsom and Legislators,

We write as climate and clean energy advocates, and former critics of nuclear power, to encourage you to exercise your governing authority to ensure the continued safe operation of the Diablo Canyon nuclear plant.

Our planet is burning, and California is right in its path: drought, wildfires and fatal heatwaves are nearly daily headlines. We need to avoid every ton of climate-warming carbon pollution not just in the future but right now. Half of California’s electricity still comes from fossil fuels and that number will go higher without Diablo Canyon.

Shutting Diablo Canyon will consign the next big waves of renewable energy in the state to standing in for Diablo’s clean power, keeping them from replacing climate-killing fossil fuels. This needless bulge in our state’s carbon emissions will persist until every kilowatt on the West Coast comes from zero- or ultra-low-carbon sources – which will take decades.

Diablo Canyon has a top rating for safety. Its resilience against earthquakes has been bolstered by unprecedented degrees of seismic protection and affirmed by decades of careful analysis.

Others can debate whether to build new nuclear plants to combat the climate crisis. But no one can deny that letting existing, well-functioning reactors like Diablo Canyon remain in service keeps fossil fuels in the ground and their carbon emissions out of our atmosphere. We ignore that benefit at our peril.

Please use your executive and legislative powers to ensure that Diablo Canyon can continue in service and help defend our state, nation and planet against deadly climate change.


Charles Komanoff
Stewart Brand
Armond Cohen

Charles Komanoff was a lead witness for ratepayer advocates in California’s investigations of Diablo Canyon’s cost overruns in the 1980s.

Stewart Brand is a futurist, cofounder of the Global Business Network and editor of the Whole Earth Catalog. His most recent book is Whole Earth Discipline: An Ecopragmatist Manifesto 

Armond Cohen is President of Clean Air Task Force, a leading environmental organization focused on reducing the climate impact of global energy systems.

About Carbon Free California

Carbon Free California is funded by California-based entrepreneurs and brings together leaders from business, the environmental community, labor and the technology sector to focus on creating a pathway to a carbon-free future and securing the clean, reliable energy needed to power the world’s fifth-largest economy. Carbon Free California believes the state must pursue all forms of emission-free energy to address the climate crisis and achieve our urgent emission reduction goals. Extending the operation of the Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant will bolster the grid with reliable carbon-free energy and enable the state to transition to increasing shares of wind and solar power, while avoiding disruptive and costly rolling blackouts. Carbon Free California receives no funding from utility or nuclear industry interests. 

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