— PG&E (and other utility companies) promote “Nuclear Science Week” in our public schools

This same event happens at school districts across the United States and probably other countries sponsored by the nuclear industry and related utility companies.

Adapt this sample letter for your area.

From Mothers for Peace

Below is a sample letter to public school administrators that we encourage parents and tax-payers to adapt and send to their local school boards, superintendents and principals.

Dear School Administrator:

The third week of October is annually designated “Nuclear Science Week” by the nuclear industry, and representatives from Diablo Canyon nuclear plant are giving talks and demonstrations in our public schools, touting nuclear energy as “safe,” “clean,” “reliable,” and “of good benefit.”

These representatives from Diablo Canyon do NOT tell the students that radioactive releases are routinely allowed into our air, land and water. They don’t mention that Diablo Canyon, storing over 64 million pounds of highly radioactive nuclear waste, is built at the intersection of at least 13 earthquake faults, two of which have been identified as “active” and “major.” This lethal waste will remain on site at Diablo Canyon far beyond the day the nuclear plant has generated its last watt of energy, and that waste will be the responsibility of these same children who are being given just one side of the nuclear power story – that of Pacific Gas and Electric.

California does not need the electricity supplied by Diablo Canyon. Equivalent energy is already available through renewable energy sources. Nuclear energy has no place in future power generation.  California’s clean energy future rests on wind, solar, wave, and geothermal energy. Our children and grandchildren will thank us for investing in it.

Sincerely,

 

https://mothersforpeace.org/blog/pg-e-promotes-nuclear-science-week-in-our-public-schools

— California Senate Bill 968 supporting PG&E’s Diablo Canyon faces sharp opposition

Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant faces increasing calls for closure. It is the only power generating nuclear plant currently operating in California. Its problems have been ongoing from the beginning. It is at daily risk from the four earthquake faults in the vicinity. The many frightening safety violations there by Pacific Gas and Electric and the NRC whistleblower exposé that the plant is out of compliance have caused alarm bells. Recent comments by Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom on the California Lands Commission mean Diablo Canyon’s future is being questioned in Sacramento.

But in February, Sen. Bill Monning introduced Senate Bill 968, co-written by Sen. Katcho Achadjian (San Luis Obispo) and Assemblywoman Hannah-Beth Jackson (Santa Barbara-Ventura), calling for a study of the adverse economic effects of closing Diablo Canyon. Many profit by its continued operation. The study would be funded by the public. The bill and its unbalanced study has encountered strong opposition from environmental and health organizations. Though Monning has now amended the bill to add ‘beneficial’ economic effects from a closure to the investigation, this seems merely a cosmetic change. The intent of the authors and this bill is clear.

Sen. Monning and co-authors state they want an independent evaluation, but the California Public Utilities Commission – an agency notorious for biasing results and ignoring unwanted conclusions – will oversee the selection. Furthermore in 2011, Monning as Assemblyman helped choose, and then affirmed findings of, the California Council on Science and Technology on Smart Meters. CCST was a supposedly independent group, but flaws in the review panel, the data, and the report were exposed by state health officials, scientists, and medical experts. However, Monning stood firm, despite what was widely known about Smart Meter problems, despite formal comments to the CPUC on overbilling and health issues, and despite public testimony to the Commission and Monning’s own office of the harm being inflicted by Smart Meters. CCST’s pro-industry report gave cover to PG&E and other utility companies for the continued roll-out of the very dangerous and controversial meters.

Bill Monning has proven a reliable supporter for utility company initiatives and Democratic Party positions and backers, despite his former position as Executive Director for the International Physicians for Social Responsibility. The San Francisco Bay and Los Angeles Chapters of Physicians for Social Responsibility called their decision to oppose this bill and its author “painful” because of Monning’s previous affiliation with their group, but they felt they had no choice.

PSR reluctantly has concluded that this bill would be at variance with the fundamental principle “do no harm”. By calling on PG&E to submit an analysis of the supposedly adverse economic impacts of closing the plant at the end of its designed life with no discussion of impacts of a Fukushima-type disaster were the plant to keep running, the study would amount to a piece of advocacy for continued operation of this dangerous facility.

Each Diablo unit contains 1000 times a long-lived radioactivity of the Hiroshima bomb. Each year Diablo produces enough plutonium for hundreds of nuclear weapons as well as waste toxic for half a million years.

The plant was built based on the assumption there were no active earthquake faults within 30 kilometers. Now we know there are 4. It is a catastrophe waiting to happen.

The public should not be forced to pay as taxpayers or ratepayers for a wasteful, unbalanced, and unnecessary report that may have the effect of implicitly pushing for the continuation of these risks. Thank you.

Monning: “One slight correction on the opposition testimony. We do remain open to working with them. This would not be a study conducted by PG&E. It would be supported by an independent study.”

The economic and environmental damage that Diablo Canyon inflicts on San Luis Obispo County now and on the ocean now is not considered by Sen. Monning and Co.. And “a catastrophe waiting to happen” decimating all industry and population centers within many miles is simply not a part of their equation, economic or otherwise – a startling realization. It is especially surprising that Senator Jackson co-authored this bill, since her district does not have the economic gain that SLO County enjoys, and both of the counties she represents — Santa Barbara and Ventura — would suffer terrible impacts if Diablo Canyon underwent an accident. Ventura County was impacted by the Santa Susanna Field Laboratory’s multiple nuclear accidents starting in the 1950s. Why would Sen. Jackson risk more nuclear danger?

Given Sen. Monning and co-authors’ intent for his bill, it is doubtful that an evaluative group would do anything other than rubberstamp the original goal — to show that closing Diablo Canyon would cause adverse economic impacts to San Luis Obispo County (and also, to PG&E investors) – and thereby slow any process to close the plant.

When Monning states that the bill’s authors remain open to working with the groups in opposition, one thing is clear: for the authors, these environmental and health groups are the opposition. The authors are against reason, against the science, and against public safety.

Below is an unofficial transcript of the May 2 Senate Appropriations Committee hearing. The links to the video are here:http://senate.ca.gov/media-archive – Videos, May 2, 2016 Appropriations Comm hearing

http://vod.senate.ca.gov/videos/2016/20160502_Appropriations_high.mp4

Appropriations Committee hearing, May 2, 2016

SB 968 goes from 10:20 – 17:28 on the video.

SB 968 – Diablo Canyon

Sen. Monning: Good morning, Chair, members.

Senate Bill 968 requires an economic assessment of the adverse and beneficial impacts that could occur in the event that the Diablo nuclear power plant shuts down. The economic assessment is an appropriate use of ratepayer funds, because allr atepayers have benefited from the energy generated from Diablo Canyon. There are past examples of ratepayers-funded studies only benefiting a single region.

Even if there is disagreement on this point, the actual impact to ratepayers will be de minimis.

San Luis Obispo’s economy is heavily reliant on Diablo Canyon which is why an independent accurate assessment to help identify ways to mitigate the impacts is indeed prudent.

I along with Asm. Achadjian have a duty to protect the region that we represent from economic harm, and SB 968 is a means for the San Luis Obispo community to plan and discuss in the event of the plant’s closure. I recognize this is a candidate for suspense and would urge an aye vote at the appropriate time. And we have a couple of witnesses in support. Thank you.

In support:

1 — Derek ? on behalf of the San Luis Coastal Unified School District. This is a school district that encompasses the power plant and surrounding region and so it’s really impacted by the local economy that’s brought to the area by PG&E and the power plants.

This nexus we think with state funding here is the fact that when the local economy becomes depressed because of a sudden instance like the closure of a power plant, we’d see an augmentation in state funding required under the local control funding formula and our unique funding system here in California. So we think that some point, there could bee a big augmentation devoted to this very school district and surrounding area, given its $80 million dollar annual operating budget and the fact that it might fall out of basic aid status. And so we urge you to support the bill.

2 — Good morning, Chair, members. Karen Lang (?) of the San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors. This county collects almost $26 million dollars in property taxes from the existence of the plant. Obviously that goes to all the tax entities including the school district. With concerns about any sudden or over time closure of the plant, and so a third party analysis would be really helpful we think and we urge your aye vote when the time comes.

Witness in support:

In opposition:

1 — I am Molly Johnson. I am here to present the opposition of more than 30 environmental and other health organizations including Public Citizen, Greenpeace, LA and San Francisco Chapter of Physicians for Social Responsibility, San Luis Obispo Mothers for Peace, Northern Band Chumash Council

We remain troubled by the bill’s one-sided nature although it is getting better, and we are working with to continue that, Uit still focuses on adverse economic rather than a balanced, and we would like to it more balanced.

We do see that there has been an amount put to the bill which we did not see until just a little bit ago. So even though these matters are now touched upon by the staff report, we feel that this still is a wasteful expense unless it is a balanced bill. Thank you.

2 — Good morning. I am Tabez Zadi (sp?) and am appearing on behalf of the San Francisco Bay and Los Angeles Chapters of Physicians for Social Responsibility which has long worked to address nuclear risks. And Sen. Monning once served as Executive Director of PSR’s parent international physician’s organization.

And PSR’s opposition to his bill on Diablo Canyon is thus painful and hasn’t been entered into lightly. PSR reluctantly has concluded that this bill would be at variance with the fundamental principle “do no harm”. By calling on PG&E to submit an analysis of the supposedly adverse economic impacts of closing the plant at the end of its designed life with no discussion of impacts of a Fukushima-type disaster were the plant to keep running, the study would amount to a piece of advocacy for continued operation of this dangerous facility.

Each Diablo unit contains 1000 times a long-lived radioactivity of the Hiroshima bomb. Each year Diablo produces enough plutonium for hundreds of nuclear weapons as well as waste toxic for half a million years.

The plant was built based on the assumption there were no active earthquake faults within 30 kilometers. Now we know there are four. It is a catastrophe waiting to happen.

The public should not be forced to pay as taxpayers or ratepayers for a wasteful, unbalanced, and unnecessary report that may have the effect of implicitly pushing for the continuation of these risks. Thank you.

Monning: One slight correction on the opposition testimony. We do remain open to working with them. This would not be a study conducted by PGE&. It would be supported by an independent study. With that again, I would request at the appropriate time an aye vote.

——————-

More information:

http://mothersforpeace.org/blog/29-gaps-in-excellence-in-2014

http://nonukesca.net/?p=539

http://www.foe.org/news/news-releases/2015-03-diablo-pge-secretly-used-wrong-data-for-safety-equipment#sthash.8DQl1ReI.dpuf

https://healfukushima.org/2016/02/29/take-action-on-diablo-canyon-npp-tell-california-state-lands-commission-to-do-full-ceqa-review/

http://mothersforpeace.org/blog/topics-to-address-at-august-5-2015-nrc-meeting-in-slo

http://www.ktvu.com/news/news/ap-exclusive-expert-calls-diablo-canyon-shutdown/ng8Tj/

http://lompocrecord.com/news/opinion/mailbag/hartmann-nuke-risks-oil-trains/article_9f1703e4-4a34-5f16-997c-6be468a26bc9.html

Take action on Diablo Canyon NPP: tell California State Lands Commission to do full CEQA review

From Mothers for Peace

California’s Lieutenant Governor, Gavin Newsom, serves on the three-member State Lands Commission.  This Commission leases the land to PG&E for the Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant.  These leases are due to expire in 2018 and 2019.

ACTION: Send an email to the Commission asking the staff to prepare a full California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) review for the land leases before considering a renewal. Also ask that the meeting scheduled for April 5 be held in San Luis Obispo County.  Send the message to:  Jennifer.Lucchesi at slc.ca.gov

Gavin Newsom Speaks on Diablo Canyon

 

PG&E covers up continued safety problems at Diablo Canyon

From the Lompoc Record
February 25, 2016

Nuke plant poses risks

PG&E recently reported to the NRC its analysis of an incident that occurred on Dec. 31, 2014, at the Diablo Canyon nuclear plant.

PG&E described it as an “event or condition that could have prevented the fulfillment of the safety function of structures or systems needed to remove residual heat and mitigate the consequences of an accident.” Do they mean meltdown?

Just how small of a problem was this that took over a year to diagnose, repair and report? Did they shut down part of the plant during that year, or did they continue to operate without knowing the cause of the problem?

Once again we are reminded that while we sleep, the possibility of a nuclear disaster at Diablo is very real. How many safety regulations have been fudged away over the years? What health risks are people living downwind from these reactors subjected to?

The way for California to safely meet carbon emission standards is by using renewable sources, not by keeping Diablo open. Renewables mean no carbon or highly toxic radioactive waste hanging around for 250,000 years.

Shut it down now, before it’s too late.

by Simone Malboeuf
Los Osos

http://lompocrecord.com/news/opinion/mailbag/hartmann-nuke-risks-oil-trains/article_9f1703e4-4a34-5f16-997c-6be468a26bc9.html

Posted under Fair Use Rules.

 

– Nov. 18-22; Arne Gundersen speaks in SF Bay area on Fukushima-California connection

Arne Gundersen joins guest speakers at three events in the San Francisco Bay region this week. Details below.

http://nonukesca.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/SSUflyer-FNL.pdf —
Sonoma State University 11-18-15

http://nonukesca.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/Gundersen-7.pdf —
Pt. Reyes, Marin County 11-21-15

http://nonukesca.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/Gundersen-Berkeley-3.pdf
Berkeley 11-22-15

From No Nukes CA

World in Danger: The Fukushima-California Connection – with Arnie Gundersen

Former nuclear industry executive turned nuclear safety advocate ARNIE GUNDERSEN has over 40-years of nuclear power engineering experience, gave testimony in the investigation of Three Mile Island, and began studying the catastrophic failure at the Dai-lchi Nuclear Power Plant the day of the first explosion. Chief Nuclear Engineer at Fairewinds Energy Education, he has produced expert reports on California nukes & numerous informative videos & articles available at Fairewinds.org

Sonoma State University In Rohnert Park
Wednesday, Nov. 18, 7 pm:

“World in Danger: Fukushima” Arnie Gundersen in conversation with Professor Majia Nadesan, author of “Fukushima and the Privatization of Risk”

Student Union Building – Ballroom D – Sonoma State University – 1801 East Cotati Ave, Rohnert Park, CA $10 donation at the door, no one turned away – students FREE – Campus parking $5.00

A Fukushima Response Public Education Event Co-sponsored by: Sociology Social Justice & Activism Club, Sociology of Media Class, Peace Roots Alliance, Ecological Options Network & Project Censored
DOWNLOAD POSTER PDF

Pt. Reyes Station:
Saturday, November 21, 7 to 9 pm

Arnie Gundersen in conversation with Mary Beth Brangan, Co-Director Ecological Options Network – EON
FREE EVENT – DONATIONS APPRECIATED
Dance Palace (Church Space) 5th & B Streets, Pt. Reyes Station

Co-sponsored by Pt. Reyes Books, Fukushima Response, Cultural Potholes & EON – the Ecological Options Network

Contact Bing Gong binggong@sonic.net 415-663-1380

DOWNLOAD POSTER PDF to post in your community.

BERKELEY
Sunday, November 22, 7:00pm

World in Danger: From Fukushima to California
Featuring Arnie Gundersen, Fairewinds Energy Education Nuclear Engineer; Joanna Macy, Ecophilospher and Buddhist Scholar; Mary Beth Brangan of EON – the Ecological Options Network; Gar Smith, author of “Nuclear Rouletter”; Vic Sadot, singer-songwriter.

Berkeley Fellowship of Unitarian Universalists, 1924 Cedar St. @ Bonita, Berkeley

Sponsored by Berkeley Fellowship Social Justice Comm., Code Pink: Women for Peace, Fukushima Response Bay Area, Abalone Alliance Safe Energy Clearinghouse, S.F. Occupy Forum, BARC (Barkers Aggitating for Reactor Closure), Sierra Club SF Bay Chapter, Sunflower Alliance, NoNukesCa.net

Contact: cynthia_papermaster@yahoo.com, 510-365-1500

DOWNLOAD POSTER PDF

http://nonukesca.net/?p=799

– California initiatives to shut down nuclear energy, eliminate investor-owned utilities

From California Secretary of State:

NUCLEAR POWER. INITIATIVE STATUTE. Extends statutory preconditions, currently applicable to new operation of any nuclear powerplant, to existing Diablo Canyon Power Plant. Before further electricity production at any plant, requires California Energy Commission to find federal government has approved technology for permanent disposal of high-level nuclear waste. For nuclear powerplants requiring reprocessing of fuel rods, requires Commission to find federal government has approved technology for nuclear fuel rod reprocessing plants. Both findings are subject to Legislature’s rejection. Further requires Commission to find on case-by-case basis facilities will be available with adequate capacity to reprocess or store powerplant’s fuel rods.

…The Secretary of State’s tracking number for this measure is 1717 and the Attorney General’s tracking number is 15-0055.

The proponent of the measure, Ben Davis, Jr., must collect the signatures of 365,880 registered voters (five percent of the total votes cast for Governor in the November 2014 general election) in order to qualify it for the November 2016 ballot…

http://www.sos.ca.gov/administration/news-releases-and-advisories/2015-news-releases-and-advisories/proposed-initiative-enters-circulation35/

From Utility Dive

Californians fed up with scandals involving the utility sector and its regulators have another option, as of Friday — eliminate the IOUs altogether. 

On Friday, the California Secretary of State approved a ballot petition to establish a statewide public utility to begin gathering signatures. Organizers will have until April 26 to collect 365,880 signatures — 5% of the number who voted in the last gubernatorial election — to get the initiative on the ballot.

Directors of the new statewide public utility would be elected from their wards for four year terms. The public power district would be authorized to “acquire property, construct facilities necessary to supply electricity, set electricity rates, impose taxes and issue bonds,” according to petition language.

…The initiative is led by Ben Davis, an anti-nuclear activist and former SMUD Rate Advisory Board member. He got an identical ballot proposal cleared for signature gathering in March, but did not get enough people to sign on before that proposal’s deadline was reached on Sep. 23.

This spring, Davis told Utility Dive the new entity would lower costs to electricity consumers and create other economic benefits by removing regulatory complexities and eliminating shareholder profit considerations.

…The effort to create a statewide public utility came from Davis’s push for a ballot initiative to close California’s nuclear facilities after the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster, he said in March. Efforts to obtain information from the California Public Utilities Commission left him suspicious of the state’s energy establishment, including the California Energy Commission and the California Independent System Operator.

Along with the public utility proposal, Davis also got his initiative to close California’s existing nuclear plants approved for signature gathering on Friday. The proposal, which would extend regulations that apply to new nuclear plants in the state to existing ones like Diablo Canyon, needs 365,880 signatures by April 26.

http://www.utilitydive.com/news/california-ballot-initiative-would-eliminate-ious-establish-statewide-publ/408452/

Also City News Service: Lights out for SoCal Edison under plan sought for Nov. 2016 vote

Posted under Fair Use Rules.

• PG&E had 29 safety violations at Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant in 2014

From Mothers for Peace:

Region IV of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission held the 2014 annual assessment meeting for Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant on June 24, 2015.

29 “gaps in excellence” in 2014
Statement by Jill ZamEk, Board Member of
San Luis Obispo Mothers for Peace.
My name is Jill ZamEk, and I am a member of San Luis Obispo Mothers for Peace, the organization which has opposed the operation of Diablo Canyon since 1973.

There were 29 violations documented by the NRC at Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant in 2014.  I have read the 11 Inspection Reports, and I have concerns regarding the number and the significance of these violations.

As stated earlier by Tom Hipschman, all total for 2014, there was one White cited violation and 28 violations rated Green. Green means low safety significance because something dire could have occurred but didn’t. The vast majority of these 28 Green violations were non-cited – meaning that although violations occurred, there were no penalties applied.

The one White violation involved emergency preparedness.  The instructions for protecting those in the ocean within 10 miles of the plant were removed in 2005. It took 9 years for somebody to notice it.

The remaining 28 Green violations involved fire protection, inoperable emergency diesel generators, occupational radiation safety, poor maintenance planning on safety-related equipment, failure to follow procedures, problems with design control, and multiple instances of failure to identify and evaluate system interactions regarding seismically-induced systems.  Eleven of the violations involved security or materials control. One recent finding identified a violation dating back to the original construction welding process from 1974 – over 40 years ago.

Overwhelmingly, the root cause of these violations points to human performance deficiencies.

The violations that give me the greatest feelings of unease are the three involving the corrective action program – identifying and resolving problems.  Apparently there is an enormous backlog of problems involving operable but longstanding, degraded conditions at the plant.  Some problems were simply not identified in a timely manner, some disregarded and not put into the corrective action program, and others inappropriately delayed.

As of August 2014, there were 29 documented degraded conditions affecting safety-related equipment – the oldest dating from June 2008. (That’s over 2,000 days ago.) The median age of the problems was 1,176 days post-identification.  In the words of the NRC from the inspection report, there exists

“a large number of longstanding degraded or non-conforming conditions, some of which had not been appropriately addressed by compensatory measures or interim corrective actions.”

As we have witnessed in Chernobyl and Fukushima, the nuclear reactors and waste facilities at Diablo Canyon have the potential for causing profound devastation.  We as humans and the things we make are not flawless.  Ed Halpin referred to these flaws as “gaps in excellence.”  The 29 documented “gaps” demonstrate the enormous risk we face.

http://mothersforpeace.org/blog/29-gaps-in-excellence-in-2014

Comment: If the backup generators do not work, then any failure in grid power means that the reactors could become another Fukushima.

I’ve previously written about this with excerpts from Vulture’s Picnic by Greg Palast, including my comments to the NRC — https://healfukushima.org/2015/09/01/comments-to-the-nrc-on-diablo-canyon-relicensing/. The new Smart Grid is extremely vulnerable to hacking, and more so every day with networked devices, including Smart Meters, that connect directly to the grid.

This report is absolutely terrifying. The NRC did nothing about these violations. Few penalties, no one fired. And this is happening at nuclear power plants across the county – this lax management and zero safety culture.

It’s a ticking time bomb. And most of the public have no idea of their extreme danger.

• PG&E fails safety test…again; 19 dry casks loaded improperly

From No Nukes California

PG&E’s aging, ill-managed nuclear reactors at Diablo Canyon are an existential threat to California say Mothers for Peace

PRESS RELEASE JUNE 10, 2015
PG&E FAILS SAFETY TEST AGAIN

The utility that brought us the San Bruno Gas Explosion, and is under multiple felony indictments for safety violations, is trying to run a nuclear plant and store deadly radioactive fuel rods in a tsunami and earthquake zone. What could possibly go wrong?

San Luis Obispo Mothers for Peace calls for immediate additional NRC oversight in the form of two additional inspectors at Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant for at least the next two years.

  • We call for a public NRC investigation into the root cause of the problem.
  • We call for the immediate inspection of all 34 dry casks to look for cracking, warping and escape of radiation into the environment.
  • And we call for the immediate shutdown of the plant until the problem has been fully and completely correcte

Here’s why:

San Luis Obispo Mothers for Peace PO Box 3806 San Luis Obispo, CA 93406 http://www.mothersforpeace.org

Linda Seeley, Spokesperson San Luis Obispo Mothers for Peace lindaseeley@gmail.com 805.234.1769

Jane Swanson, Spokesperson San Luis Obispo Mothers for Peace janeslo@icloud.com 805.440.1359

PG&E Admits Mis-handling of Highly Radioactive Fuel Rods Over this past weekend, San Luis Obispo Mothers for Peace received a bulletin informing us that two spent fuel casks had been loaded improperly at the Diablo Canyon nuclear plant in Avila Beach, CA. Upon further inspection, we discovered that 19 of the 34 dry casks that have been loaded at the Independent Spent Fuel Storage Installation (ISFSI) have been loaded IMPROPERLY.

What does this mean for those of us who live near the plant? For the past 15 years or so, PG&E has been using high-burnup fuel – fuel that burns longer in the reactor, and so is much hotter (both in temperature and radioactivity) than the “traditional” nuclear fuel. When high-burnup fuel comes out of the reactor core and is placed in the cooling pools, it needs to have space around it, and it must stay in the cooling pools for AT LEAST 7 years. Even after 7 years, it is hotter than other fuel. (PG&E has not revealed how many of the improperly loaded fuel rods were high-burnup.)

The fuel rods are supposed to be spaced far apart when they are loaded into the dry casks. Here’s where the problem lies: PG&E IMPROPERLY LOADED 19 OF THE 34 DRY CASKS AT DIABLO CANYON. Rather than spacing the fuel rods far apart, technicians loaded the fuel into the CENTER of the dry casks, which causes uneven heat distribution – NOT the distribution that the dry casks are designed for. In 56% of the dry casks now stored on a fragile, earthquake-prone coastline at Diablo Canyon, fuel loading has VIOLATED​ ​TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS.

The heat load caused by improperly loading fuel into dry casks can cause warping of​ the cask lid because of uneven heat distribution inside the cask. Warping can cause exacerbation of cracking around the bolt holes in the cask. If the bolt holes crack, the stainless steel cask (5/8” thick) can crack, the lid can become dislodged, and radiation can escape. If there is sufficient cracking, oxygen can permeate the cask, which has been vacuum-sealed with helium. If oxygen hits the zircaloy cladding on the fuel rods, they can spontaneously ignite, causing an uncontrolled​ ​release of radiation. If that happens, it would be a catastrophe of unprecedented proportion.

What has PG&E done about this? They’ve sharpened up their pencils and shown us that it’s all just “fine.” They report that the “total thermal load has not been exceeded.” No problem!

​Never​ before in the history of US nuclear power has an operator so failed to follow technica​l specifications​​ for spent fuel loading​​. Technical specifications are the nuclear industry’s bible, and they are to be followed precisely. PG&E has CONSISTENTLY ​VIOLATED​ the clear ​instructions that ​they ​​are ordered to adhere to.

Therefore: San Luis Obispo Mothers for Peace calls for immediate additional NRC oversight in the form of two additional inspectors at Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant for at least the next two years.

  • We call for a public NRC investigation into the root cause of the problem.
  • We call for the immediate inspection of all 34 dry casks to look for cracking, warping and escape of radiation into the environment.
  • And we call for the immediate shutdown of the plant until the problem has been fully and completely corrected.

http://nonukesca.net/?p=539

• Comments to the NRC on Diablo Canyon relicensing

Comments submitted to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission
On Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant re-licensing
Docket Nos. 50-275 and 50-323NRC-2009-0552

Given the earthquake faults, the ongoing radioactive emissions from the plant, and the hacking risk to the plant, as well as PG&E’s deplorable safety record and culture, Diablo Canyon must be immediately shut down and decommissioned. The danger to the ocean, to the West Coast, and the world from nuclear energy has been amply demonstrated with the ongoing disaster at Fukushima.

The NRC allows Diablo Canyon to continue operating despite holding other NPPs to much higher and stricter standards. The Union of Concerned Scientists reported last year that Diablo Canyon does not comply with federal safety standards.[i]

Despite the disclosure this year that PG&E used the wrong accident and earthquake data when building safety equipment, and has failed since 1984 to use updated data, the NRC allows Diablo Canyon to remain open.[ii]

Also disclosed was that PG&E and the NRC altered Diablo Canyon’s operating license so it would conform.

Diablo Canyon discharges huge amounts of tritium, strontium and cesium into the ocean continually. PG&E stated in 2014 that Diablo Canyon regularly discharges more tritium than Fukushima NPP in its melted down state is pouring into the ocean.

That water [in 2012] contained 3,670 curies of tritium, or 136 trillion becquerels, according to the company, almost three-and- a-half times the amount released from the Fukushima plant into the ocean in the period starting May 2011. The plant also discharged cesium-137 and strontium-90, though at lower levels than Fukushima.[iii]

Since it was estimated in June 2014 that 60 PBq of cesium-137 had been released into the ocean from Fukushima[iv], and TEPCO announced that 5 billion Bq of Strontium-90 are released daily into the ocean from Fukushima[v], the questions have to be asked:

  • How much less?
  • Does it really matter how much less when we are dealing with such virulent poisons, poisons that bioaccumulate up the food chain?

Strontium mimics calcium and is known as the bone seeker.

There are unknown normal airborne releases, as well as periodic high releases when the reactors are re-fueled. These releases are averaged over 365 days, rather than given as the figures per release[vi]. The rain-out amounts from Diablo Canyon emissions combined with Fukushima fallout can only be imagined.

This is very serious and ongoing radioactive contamination of the environment.

In addition, there is the hazard from the power plant’s reliance on grid power.

Arne Gundersen:

…the most likely type of a nuclear accident is caused by a loss of offsite power.  That is what happened at Fukushima:  the power system AROUND the plant broke down.  If that happens, not only will the plant not have power, but the street lights won’t work.  According to the NRC, the street lights DO work.  Not only that, but your home lighting won’t work and your radio and TV won’t work.  But according to the NRC, you will be able to contact the outside world by phones or by radio or by television.   But remember the most likely cause of a nuclear accident is loss of offsite power and that has NEVER been part of an emergency plan, assuming that all of that does not work.[vii]

There are increasing attacks to the power grid. PG&E has played a pivotal role in creating the so-called “Smart Grid”, which former CIA director James Woolsey calls a stupid grid because of its vulnerability[viii]. PG&E has also aggressively Installed wireless Smart Meters and encouraged network-connected Smart appliances, creating millions of vectors to the power grid and increasing exponentially the possibilities for hacking[ix].

These factors put the residents of the region in increased jeopardy. A hacked power grid disconnects essential power for keeping reactor cores and fuel pools cool. Without power, the power plant must rely on generators to turn on instantly at full power and sustain operation for as long as needed.

Fukushima’s troubles started before the tsunami. The earthquake cut off electrical power to the plant, and at least some of the generators failed when they were turned on. Journalist Greg Palast in Vulture’s Picnic has a long and detailed section on the vulnerability of generators as backup power.

A page from the notebook of an Emergency Diesel Generator expert, R.D. Jacobs, hired to monitor a test for a nuclear reactor’s back-up cooling system.

This is to record that on my last visit,….I pressed [a company executive] saying that we just did not know what the axial vibration of the crankshaft was doing to the [diesel] units. I was unable to impress him sufficiently.

The diesels were “tested” by turning them on for a few minutes at low power. They worked find. But R.D., a straight shooter, suspected problems. He wanted the motors opened and inspected. He was told by power company management to go to hell.

When we forced the plant builder [in Suffolk County, New York] to test the three Emergency Diesel Generators in emergency conditions, one failed almost immediately (the crankshaft snapped, as R.D.[Jacobs} predicted), then the second, then the third. We named the three diesels “Snap, Crackle, and Pop.”

…I knew that all these diesels were basically designed, or even taken from, cruise ship engine rooms or old locomotives. . I’m not an engineer, but I suspect a motor designed for a leisurely float n Bermuda is not fit for a life-and-death scramble. So, I asked [an industry insider], “They really can’t work at all, the diesels, can they?”

That’s when he introduced me to the phrase “crash start.”

On a ship, he explained, you would take half an hour to warm up the bearings, and then slowly build up to “critical” crankshaft speed, and only then add the “load.” the propeller…

That’s for sailing. But in a nuclear emergency, “the diesels have to go from stationary to taking a full load in less than ten seconds.”

Worse, to avoid having to buy additional diesels, the nuclear operators turbo-charge them, revving them to 4,000 horsepower in ten seconds when they are designed for half that output.

The result: snap, crackle, pop.

I learned that, at Fukushima, at least two of the diesels failed before the tsunami hit. What destroyed those diesels was turning them on. In other words, the diesels are junk, are crap, are not capable of getting up to full power in seconds, then run continuously for days….

”So, you saying emergency diesels can’t work in an emergency?”

“Actually, they’re just not designed for it.”

Vulture’s Picnic, p. 294-297

Scientific American had a very telling graphic with a computer keyboard, a time bomb, and a power plant[x].

I would not visit San Luis Obispo County nor would I live there because of this resident hazard.

The U.S. government is ultimately at fault for promoting these hazardous power plants in the first place. But even with safety regulations in place, the NRC clearly cannot police itself, and it certainly cannot provide even a bare minimum of safety for the nuclear power plants under its jurisdiction and the people who live in the vicinity.

It is lunacy to continue this extremely toxic method for generating electricity, when the current costs to society and the environment from its continuance are so high and go on permanently into the future. Solar is coming online in increasing levels, and Californians’ energy use has been dropping. The cost is too great to allow its continuance one more day.

Shut down Diablo Canyon now.

 

[i] http://www.ucsusa.org/news/press_release/diablo-canyon-report-0381.html

[ii] http://www.foe.org/news/news-releases/2015-03-diablo-pge-secretly-used-wrong-data-for-safety-equipment#sthash.8DQl1ReI.dpuf

[iii] http://www.telegram.com/article/20140203/NEWS/302039780/1052

[iv] http://www.nature.com/srep/2014/140304/srep04276/full/srep04276.html

[v] At press conference 8/25/14 http://www.tepco.co.jp/tepconews/library/archive-j.html

[vi] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tk7xzg1T0kk&feature=player_detailpage#t=1574

[vii] http://fairewinds.com/content/white-house-nrc-recommend-50-mile-fukushima-evacuation-yet-insist-us-safe-only-10

[viii] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1lF3eywqD-I

[ix] http://www.smartgridnews.com/artman/publish/End_Use_Smart_Homes/Are-smart-homes-a-security-threat-to-electric-power-utilities-5914.html

http://www.forbes.com/sites/kashmirhill/2013/07/26/smart-homes-hack/

http://www.sfgate.com/technology/article/Security-lags-in-protecting-Internet-connected-5153837.php#photo-5734988

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-04-01/turkish-blackout-shows-world-power-grids-under-threat

“More and more attacks are targeting the industrial control systems that run the production networks of critical infrastructure, stealing data and causing damage,” said David Emm, a principal researcher at Moscow-based security company Kaspersky Lab Inc., which advises governments and businesses.

All power use was previously measured by mechanical meters, which were inspected and read by a utility worker. Now, utilities are turning to smart meters, which communicate live data to customers and the utility company. This opens up the systems to hackers…

“Introducing smart meters means you install access points to the electricity grid in private homes,” said Reinhard Gruenwald, an energy expert at the Office of Technology Assessment at the German Bundestag, a scientific institution advising German lawmakers. “You can’t physically protect those. If criminals are smart enough, they may be able to manipulate them.”

http://www.abs-cbnnews.com/business/tech-biz/07/16/14/smart-technology-could-make-utilities-more-vulnerable-hackers

http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/2011/1206/Cyber-security-Power-grid-grows-more-vulnerable-to-attack-report-finds

Massachusetts Institute for Technology — “Millions of new communicating electronic devices … will introduce attack vectors — paths that attackers can use to gain access to computer systems or other communicating equipment. That increase[s] the risk of intentional and accidental communications disruptions,” including “loss of control over grid devices, loss of communications between grid entities or control centers, or blackouts.”

[x] http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/power-hackers/

• Diablo Canyon scoping memo comments — due Aug. 31

Excerpts from the Federal Register, July 1, 2015

https://www.federalregister.gov/articles/2015/07/01/2015-15921/diablo-canyon-power-plant-units-1-and-2

Summary

On January 27, 2010, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) notified the public of its opportunity to participate in the scoping process associated with the preparation of an environmental impact statement (EIS) related to the review of the license renewal application submitted by Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) for the renewal of Facility Operating Licenses DPR-80 and DPR-82 for an additional 20 years of operation at Diablo Canyon Power Plant (DCPP), Units 1 and 2. The current operating licenses for DCPP, Units 1 and 2 expire on November 2, 2024, and August 26, 2025, respectively. The scoping period closed on April 12, 2010. The NRC has decided to reopen the scoping process and allow members of the public an additional opportunity to participate.

DATES:

The comment period for the environmental scoping process published on January 27, 2010 (75 FR 4427) has been reopened. Comments should be filed no later than August 31, 2015.

II. Discussion

On December 22, 2014 (ADAMS Package No. ML14364A259), and February 25, 2015 (ADAMS Package No. ML15057A102), PG&E amended its ER to provide additional information identified by NRC staff as necessary to complete the review of the DCPP license renewal application. By letter dated April 28, 2015 (ADAMS Accession No. ML15104A509), the NRC staff issued a schedule for the remainder of the DCPP license renewal review. The purpose of this notice is to (1) inform the public that the NRC has decided to reopen the scoping process, as defined in 10 CFR 51.29, “Scoping-environmental impact statement and supplement to environmental impact statement,” and (2) allow members of the public an additional opportunity to participate. The comments already received by the NRC will be considered; reopening of the scoping process provides additional opportunity for the public to comment on issues that may have emerged since completion of the last scoping period.

The NRC will first conduct a scoping process for the supplement to the GEIS and, as soon as practicable thereafter, will prepare a draft supplement to the GEIS for public comment. Participation in the scoping process by members of the public and local, State, Tribal, and Federal government agencies is encouraged. The scoping process for the supplement to the GEIS will be used to accomplish the following:

  1. Define the proposed action, which is to be the subject of the supplement to the GEIS;
  2. Determine the scope of the supplement to the GEIS and identify the significant issues to be analyzed in depth;
  3. Identify and eliminate from detailed study those issues that are peripheral or that are not significant;
  4. Identify any environmental assessments and other ElSs that are being or will be prepared that are related to, but are not part of, the scope of the supplement to the GEIS being considered;
  5. Identify other environmental review and consultation requirements related to the proposed action;
  6. Indicate the relationship between the timing of the preparation of the environmental analyses and the Commission’s tentative planning and decision-making schedule;
  7. Identify any cooperating agencies and, as appropriate, allocate assignments for preparation and schedules for completing the supplement to the GEIS to the NRC and any cooperating agencies; andShow citation box
  8. Describe how the supplement to the GEIS will be prepared and include any contractor assistance to be used.

More information and links to documents at https://www.federalregister.gov/articles/2015/07/01/2015-15921/diablo-canyon-power-plant-units-1-and-2