September 1981: About 1,900 arrests occur during two weeks of anti-nuclear demonstrations at Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant.
In a Sept. 16, 1981, Los Angeles Times article, staff writer John Hurst reported:
AVILA BEACH, Calif.–The much publicized attempt to shut down the Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant with a human blockade began slowly Tuesday, with hundreds of demonstrators harassing plant operations–but not stopping them.
It was more theater than blockade, as demonstrators plopped their bodies in front of plant gates, climbed over security fences and hiked over miles of rugged terrain, while their nearly every movement was recorded by the media.
By late Tuesday, there were about 450 confirmed trespassing arrests on Pacific Gas and Electric Co. property located adjacent to this San Luis Obispo County coastal community. The action was virtually a carbon-copy of a demonstration in 1978, when 487 people were arrested for trespassing at the plant site over a period of two or three days. The current blockade was expected to attract far greater numbers than the 1978 event.
The Abalone Alliance, organizers of the action, had attempted to attract waves of protesters for a sustained action to prevent PG&E from conducting low-energy tests of one of the two reactors at the site. Ironically, PG&E is not expected to get federal approval for the testing before Monday. …
The federal approval of low-level testing came on Monday, Sept. 21, 1981. But the protests continued through Sep. 28. A story in the Sep. 29, 1981, Los Angeles Times reported:
AVILA BEACH, Calif.–The two-week-long demonstration to protest the Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant came to an end Monday, its organizers claiming success although they had consistently failed to mount a blockade that would close the giant facility.
As had been the case throughout most of the demonstration, scores of protestors were arrested Monday, most of them while attempting to stop workers from entering the still-unfinished plant owned by the Pacific Gas & Electric Co.
Among the more than 250 arrested Monday were actor Robert Blake and rock singer Jackson Brown. There have been 1,893 persons arrested at the plant since Sept. 15–the most for any anti-nuclear demonstration in the United States. …
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission granted PG&E a testing license Sept. 21. Utility spokesmen said that the protests have not affected preparations for bringing Diablo’s Unit 1 up to 5% capacity.
However, PG&E informed the NRC Monday that it has discovered a discrepancy in one of the diagrams used in the stress analysis of piping hanger systems in the containment structures at Diablo Canyon. Because of this, PG&E said, fuel loading will be delayed while the problem is being reviewed. PG&E did not say how long the delay will take. …
The design goof ended up delaying Diablo Canyon’s opening and costing PG&E millions of dollars. Unit 1 was commissioned on May 7, 1985. Unit 2 went online on March 13, 1986.
On June 21, 2016, PG&E announced Diablo Canyon’s closure by 2025.
Diablo Canyon political cartoon by Paul Conrad published in the Sept. 27, 1981, Los Angeles Times.