— Mothers for Peace asks Sen. Monning for changes to Diablo Canyon bill, gets no response

Update June 6: SB 968 passed the California Senate on June 1. It is now in the state Assembly and has had a first reading. There were a few text changes but not those requested by Mothers for Peace. Interestingly,  a provision for public hearings has been eliminated from the bill. Information on bill history :  http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billHistoryClient.xhtml?bill_id=201520160SB968

Letter from San Luis Obispo Mothers for Peace to California Senator Bill Monning May 19, 2016. The proposed text changes to Senate Bill 968 are here.

Senator Monning has not responded. SB 968 was passed by the Senate Appropriations Committee on Friday, May 27, and goes to the full California Senate for approval this week.

May 19, 2016

Senator Bill Monning
Capitol Office
State Capitol, Room 313
Sacramento, CA 95814

RE: SB 968

Senator Monning & staff;

We would like to try, one more time, to find a way to support rather than oppose SB 968. Below you will find our thoughts on the bill and what we believe it will take for us to retract our opposition. Please note that this comes from SLO Mothers for Peace; we do not speak for the other 30 organizations that have signed on to the opposition letter. When changes are made that we deem viable we will share them with the other signers to see if those changes will change their stance on the bill.

The inclusion of the words “beneficial” and “net economic effects” in the Legislative Digest and in the first part of the body does begin the process of balancing the bill but that is where that “balance” ends. Below we will point out where the language of the bill itself needs to be changed to reflect the balance that is necessary to ensure that this is a true study of all of the economic impacts, adverse and beneficial. In light of the recent heavy push by The Breakthrough Institute, unions, and others to keep the plant open until 2044-2045, we feel these changes are necessary in order to ensure that this study does not unintentionally become an organizing tool and “hit piece” for those asking for re-licensing.

The following is a list of changes and/or additions we would need to see in order to withdraw our opposition to SB 968:

1) 712.5 (a) (1) There is an incongruity in SECTION 1, line 6. It states: “. . .for the region surrounding the County of San Luis Obispo,. . .” Does this mean that the study is only for Monterey and Santa Barbara Counties? Shouldn’t it read something like, “. . .the County of San Luis Obispo, the region surrounding the County of San Luis Obispo, and the state as a whole. . .”?

2) 712.5 (a) (1) Line 15 “. . .for the state and local jurisdictions to consider in order to mitigate the adverse economic impact of a shutdown. . .”. It should also call for enhancement the positive economic effects.

3) 712.5 (b) (1) – “Estimates of any decreases in local or state tax revenues, decreases in workforce populations, losses in indirect or induced economies, and potential impacts to ratepayers from an early shutdown.” We would also like to see something like: “Estimates of any increases in local or state tax revenues, increases in workforce populations, gains in indirect or induced economies, and potential impacts to ratepayers from a transition to reliance on new sources of energy generation from renewables, above and beyond existing state mandates, to replace the power from Diablo Canyon upon its closure.”

4) 712.5 (b) (2) – “A review of the economic impacts that affected the region surrounding the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station.” SONGS was shut down unexpectedly thereby creating a lot of problems that would not have been present in a planned closure. For a truly balanced study one must also look at another NPP that was “successfully” shut down. In the State of California, that NPP would be Rancho Seco in Sacramento. All of the waste is being stored on-site in dry-cask storage and the land around the closed plant is now a solar farm. There are many lessons to be learned from Rancho Seco and a study of that closure must be included.

5) 712.5 (b) (4) – “Identification of any contingency plans that could mitigate the adverse economic impact of a shutdown to state and local jurisdictions, the local workforce, and entities receiving enhanced tax revenue.” This is, again, focused to the negative. We believe it should read: “. . .plans that could mitigate the adverse economic impact and enhance the positive economic impact of a shutdown. . .” Also, the terms “mitigate” and “mitigation” must be clearly defined or examples of the types of mitigation be described “Mitigation would include exploring the creation of jobs for which some employees at Diablo might be qualified or for which they could be offered training. Mitigation would also include the assessment of alternative renewable forms of energy that might be added at the Diablo Canyon site or at other locations in San Luis Obispo County or nearby regions.”

6) There are two ways Diablo Canyon will shut down.

  • A planned closure:
    • In 2024-2025 if relicensing does not occur and the plant closes when the current licenses expire
    • In 2044-2045 if relicensing does occur.
  • An unplanned closure:
    • The State Lands Commission denies Diablo Canyon land use permits and the plant must close.
    • The CA State Water Board rules that Diablo Canyon is no longer exempt from the Clean Air Act and can no longer use Once Through Cooling. The cost of building cooling towers could cause PG&E to close Diablo like SCGE did at San Onofre because of the generators.
    • There is a larger than design basis earthquake that causes a radioactive release, spent-fuel pool fire or, worst case scenario, a melt-down in the containment.

Why would one look only at one scenario of early closure and not also look at the cost that an accident would cause? If the County of SLO and its surrounding areas are to be able to use the information that this study would provide, they need ALL of the information not just some of it.

We still have concerns about the selection process of an “independent third party”. However, we do understand that there may be no alternative to that selection process other than as outlined in the bill.

There are also some word changes here and there that would also balance the bill. We have attached a copy of the bill as we would like to see it with our recommendations in bolded, italicized blue font.

We look forward to hearing from you soon.

SLO Mothers for Peace Board

Elaine Holder             Sherry Lewis

Lucy J Swanson           Nancy Norwood

Linda Seeley               Molly Johnson

Jill ZamEk

Cc: Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson
Assemblyman Katcho Achadjian


SLO Mothers for Peace          PO Box 3608   San Luis Obispo, CA 93403 https://mothersforpeace.org