The nuclear age dawned almost exactly 70 years ago under an abandoned University of Chicago football stadium on Dec. 2, 1942. Physicists Arthur Compton and Enrico Fermi conducted the first nuclear chain reaction. America and Great Britain provided home for many scientists fleeing Fascist oppression. Science thrives with the unfettered exchange of ideas. Ideology is not a useful scientific tool.
The 1950s was a period of atmospheric atomic weapon testing with flashes that could be seen from San Luis Obispo.
Promoters bragged about harnessing the power of the atom for peaceful use as well.
At one point it was predicted that nuclear generated electric power would be too cheap to meter.
By 1968 commercial development of nuclear power was in high gear. California utilities scrambled to ad generating capacity to match rapid population growth. The plant had first been proposed for the Nipomo Dunes but environmental activists forced the relocation to Diablo Canyon.
The environmental movement would grow up at the same time Diablo was under construction.
In the 1950s PG&E built the fossil fuel plant at Morro Bay but Diablo would dwarf the generating capacity and complexity of the gas or oil fired plant.
It would be over a decade before the Diablo would generate power.
This photo is from a previous story touring the site of the soon to be built plant.