Amidst all that chaos, a requirement to pay for cooling towers might force Diablo shut. Parallel issues have erupted in New Jersey (a 2017 closure was negotiated at Oyster Creek), New York (Indian Point), Florida (Turkey Point) and elsewhere.
Draft shutdown resolutions are now circulating among cities, towns and counties in PG&E territory. A similar wave of endorsements helped force the two reactors at San Onofre to close.
A ratepayer revolt is also being organized by Code Pink's Cynthia Papermaster. With PG&E customers withholding all or part of their bill, the potential economic impacts could be incalculable.
Diablo's current license is set to expire by 2024. PG&E has begun the re-licensing process, but has missed key deadlines, prompting speculation they may give up.
According to intervenor sources, the California Coastal Commission (CCC) has equal standing with the NRC on the license renewal. PG&E is late with answers to six pages of the CCC's questions. Public comment period at the commission's open meetings begins at 9 a.m.
The California Energy Commission has a bi-annual scoping review upcoming in Sacramento. The CEC addresses California's energy future, aiming for a reliable supply. It lacks "direct regulatory authority over whether the plant continues to operate," says Geesman. But its recommendations are "taken very seriously" and "have resulted in legislation," according to another source close to the process. The CEC is "very public-friendly and very important" with five commissioners "who listen."
The Diablo Canyon Independent Peer Review Committee and the Independent Safety Committee may also play a role, and are open to public testimony.
A constant flow of Diablo-related legislation is expected in the coming months.
A possible state-wide initiative could require cooling towers and make the utility pay for them, or take up waste issues, or the seismic issue, or force a strong feed-in tariff to support the conversion to renewables.
Just under 400,000 signatures would be needed to get on the 2016 ballot. Doing that and then actually winning the vote would be a daunting task.
But to head off a 1976 ballot measure, the legislature passed an effective ban on new nuke construction. The ballot measure then failed, but the ban remains in place.
California also has a powerful anti-fracking movement that parallels its No Nukes campaign. A joint May conference in San Francisco may launch a unified green push.
With combined grassroots forces pushing on water, seismic, regulatory, economic and other issues " through the legislature, NRC, courts, Water Board, Coastal Commission, CPUC and other agencies " with creative lobbying and activism, a resolution campaign, rate revolt, initiative process and more " California is poised to make itself nuke free.
Will that happen before the next catastrophe?
The answer will come from the people of California " now maybe with a boost from the courts.