History Department


History 303: Research and Writing Seminar in History


Andrew Morris


The use of nuclear power is a complicated issue which brings forth concerns for the environment and local populations. The Diablo Canyon Power Plant, which began construction in 1968, was part of this clash between ideas of progress and safety. Environmental concerns arose as locals who cared about the beautiful coastline and archeological area, dating back thousands of years, where the plant was being built wanted to see the site left alone.4 Nuclear power at this time was also a relatively new source of energy which the public had little understanding of, bringing a high concern for safety among locals. With the rise of student activism throughout the country in this era, how did Cal Poly students and faculty react to the construction of this plant? Cal Poly activism in the 1970s was first initiated by passionate Cal Poly faculty, which led to student activism, despite opposition by the administration. This causation for growth in activism is particularly evident in the activism against the nuclear power plant which will be the focus of this paper.