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Conservation Fallout: Nuclear Protest at Diablo Canyon

Wills, John (2006) Conservation Fallout: Nuclear Protest at Diablo Canyon. University of Nevada Press, Reno, NV, 256 pp. ISBN 978-0-87417-680-3. (The full text of this publication is not currently available from this repository. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided) (KAR id:4055)

The full text of this publication is not currently available from this repository. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided.


Vehement, widespread opposition accompanied the rise of the U.S. nuclear industry during the 1960s and 1970s. In "Conservation Fallout", John Wills examines one of the most controversial atomic projects of the period: Pacific Gas and Electric Company's decision to build its premier nuclear power plant at Diablo Canyon, a relatively unsettled, biologically rich, and especially scenic part of the central California coastline. Two competing visions of California emerged while the plant underwent construction. Environmentalists used Diablo as a symbol of impending ecological doomsday, while PG&E envisioned it as the model that would usher in a new age of energy production. The Sierra Club almost disbanded over whether to condone or protest the reactor project. Divisions also emerged in the local community as residents and politicians, enticed by the promise of cheap electricity and lucrative tax revenues, found themselves pitted against others who feared the dangers of radiation in their own backyards. The controversy intensified when a fault line was discovered within three miles of the plant. Grassroots groups The Mothers for Peace, a local women's group, and The Abalone Alliance, a statewide nonviolent direct-action organization, did their utmost to stop the plant from going on-line. In 1979, an Alliance rally in San Francisco attracted 25,000 people, while 40,000 others gathered in San Luis Obispo. During a two-week-long blockade of the Diablo plant in 1981, over 1,900 activists were jailed, the largest arrest in the history of American antinuclear protest. Despite its significance in the history of twentieth-century environmental issues and the continuing debate over the safety of nuclear power, the full story of Diablo Canyon has not been told until now. Wills bases his account on extensive interviews with the individuals involved, as well as on the archives of the Sierra Club, several protest organizations, public agencies, PG&E, and others. The result is an engaging, balanced examination of nuclear politics in California. By focusing on one of the last wild places in the state and its transformation into a major technological center, and on the evolution and strategies of the little-studied grassroots protest groups determined to protect California and resist the spread of nuclear technology, Wills has made a major contribution to our understanding of America's nuclear age.

Item Type: Book
Subjects: F History United States, Canada, Latin America > F1 United States local history
E History America > E151 United States (General)
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Arts and Humanities > School of History
Depositing User: John Wills
Date Deposited: 07 Oct 2008 17:25 UTC
Last Modified: 16 Nov 2021 09:42 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

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