— Frauds: Friends of the Earth and NRDC abandon immediate closure of Diablo Canyon, claim victory despite nine more dangerous years

“Diablo Canyon should never have been constructed in the first place, and now it is clear it should not be allowed to operate another day. Diablo Canyon must be shut down now, and there should be both state and federal investigations into PG&E’s negligence.”

Damon Moglen, Senior Strategic Advisor, Friends of the Earth, March 9, 2015

On June 21, 2016, Friends of the Earth sent out an email entitled “BREAKING: Huge victory for renewable energy” and congratulating themselves for closing Diablo Canyon. The problem is, it wasn’t true.

With no link in the email for more information, an internet search finally located the press release from FOE with the details and agreement documents.[i] They reveal a different picture.

Yes, Friends of the Earth, in partnership with NRDC and other groups, negotiated a closure of Diablo Canyon, but it won’t happen for 9 years – in 2025.

That is a catastrophe, not a victory.

The group is now lobbying the CPUC to accept this agreement and lobbying the California Lands Commission to give a “short-term” extension of PG&E’s lease of the land until that time.

Well-known names are missing from this agreement, names such as Greenpeace, Physicians for Social Responsibility, San Luis Obispo Mothers for Peace, Committee to Bridge the Gap, the Northern Chumash Tribal Council, Beyond Nuclear, Ecological Options Network, Nuclear Information and Resource Service, Nuclear Hotseat, Public Citizen, Food and Water Watch, Tri-Valley CAREs, even Union of Concerned Scientists, and Sierra Club. They’re not there for one reason: this agreement lacks integrity and realism.

The only parties to the agreement are Friends of the Earth, Natural Resources Defense Council, Alliance for Nuclear Responsibility, PG&E, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 1245 (IBEW), Coalition of California Utility Employees, and Environment California It’s worth noting that Alliance for Nuclear Responsibility is also supporting SB 968, Sen. Bill Monning’s bill.

Those of us who applauded the lawsuit by Friends of the Earth, after the NRC staff revelations about Diablo Canyon safety issues and all the longstanding safety problems at the plant, expected a real lawsuit, with real solutions proposed. When FOE called for an immediate shutdown in March 2015, Damon Moglen, Senior Strategic Adviser, said:

“It’s terrifying to think that for 30 years PG&E used the wrong numbers for vital equipment at the U.S. reactors most at risk from earthquakes. No one would dream of putting nuclear reactors in that location today. Diablo Canyon should never have been constructed in the first place, and now it is clear it should not be allowed to operate another day. Diablo Canyon must be shut down now, and there should be both state and federal investigations into PG&E’s negligence.” [ii]

Where did that go? This is not just a 180 degree turn. This is betrayal.

Their letter to the California Lands Commission called Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant a “GHG free generation resource” and states it doesn’t generate any greenhouse gas emissions—incredibly inaccurate but characteristic of nuclear industry propaganda.

PG&E Corporation Chairman, CEO and President Tony Earley …”Importantly, this proposal recognizes the value of GHG-free nuclear power as an important bridge strategy to help ensure that power remains affordable and reliable and that we do not increase the use of fossil fuels while supporting California’s vision for the future.”

…PG&E plans to operate the two units at Diablo Canyon to the end of their current NRC operating licenses, which expire on Nov. 2, 2024, and Aug. 26, [iii]

The letter says granting an extension to the lease would “directly promote California’s GHG emission reduction,” ignoring the danger of its continued operation every day which could destroy any future for California. IBEW got a guarantee in the agreement of $350 million for Diablo Canyon employees’ severance, retention, and retraining. Wow! What an amazing per-employee expenditure. Further, any approval by the CPUC has a condition that the approval cannot be appealed.

This is appalling, and the reasons behind this derailment can only be guessed. The organizations that refused to participate in this charade, that are opposing SB 968 in Sacramento, and that continue to fight to close Diablo Canyon should be applauded and supported.

Diablo Canyon is a ticking time bomb that endangers all life in Central California (and beyond) every day. This agreement gives Diablo Canyon and PG&E a pass for 9 long years. That isn’t progress. That is dangerous, fool-hardy denial, playing with nuclear catastrophe. With friends like these, who needs enemies? Friend or FOE? The answer is clear.

[i] http://www.foe.org/news/news-releases/2016-06-diablo-canyon-nuclear-plant-to-be-shut-down
Diablo Canyon nuclear plant to be shut down, power replaced by renewables, efficiency, storage

Letter to California Lands Commission
Joint proposal to California Public Utilities Commission

[ii] http://www.foe.org/news/archives/2015-03-diablo-pge-secretly-used-wrong-data-for-safety-equipment
Diablo Canyon: PG&E secretly used wrong design data for key safety equipment for 30 years

[iii] http://www.smartgridnews.com/story/proposal-would-phase-out-nuclear-power-california-support-state-energy-poli/2016-06-21?utm_medium=nl&utm_source=internal
Proposal would phase out nuclear power in California to support state energy policies

 

 

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— Sign petition to Japanese government: Don’t use radioactive dirt for public works projects throughout Japan

If you can sign and send to others to sign by May 15, that would be especially good. And they will continue collecting signatures after that.

Sign the petition here:

https://www.change.org/p/minister-of-environment-tamayo-marukawa-contaminated-soil-produced-by-the-nuclear-disaster-to-be-used-for-public-works?lang=en-US

From Friends of the Earth, Japan

Petitioning Minister of the Environment Tamayo Marukawa

Contaminated soil , produced by the nuclear disaster, to be used for public works !?

Urgent Petition: “No” to the Policy “To Use Contaminated Soil (Less than 8,000 becquerel/kg) for Public Works”—
Don’t Contaminate the Environment, Don’t Force Radiation Exposure on the Entire Population

On March 30, the Ministry of Environment (MOE) of Japan decided to allow the use of contaminated soil (lower than 8,000 becquerel/kg) for public works nationwide with “proper containment measures.” The committee argues that the additional effective dose for residents will be less than 10µSv/year, but the Nuclear Reactor Regulation Act that specifies 100 becquerel/kg or less as the threshold for reusing concrete and metals from nuclear power plants. MOE’s latest policy increases the threshold eightyfold.

Moreover, the Working Group on Safety Evaluation of the Effects of Radiation within the investigative committee met behind closed doors, and its meeting minutes have not been published. In fact, the goal of the committee is to increase an amount of radioactive waste for reuse in order to decrease an amount for final disposal. The committee seems to consider it inevitable to expose the entire Japanese population to radiation to implement the infeasible policy of “decontamination and repatriation” for Fukushima residents.

MOE boasts that “the reconstruction of Fukushima and the Tohoku region not only constitutes a crucial project for the renewal of Japan but also will become an unprecedented source of knowledge and experience to be shared with international society.” But “proper containment measures” is unrealistic. Even strictly managed disposal sites contaminate their surroundings and groundwater; how can public works, which are not as strictly as managed, prevent contaminated soil from spreading radioactivity? Indeed, rainfall, erosion, and disasters can damage public works to trigger a significant release of radioactivity in the environment. Construction work will also expose laborers to radioactivity. If a huge earthquake occurs, roads will be damaged, exposing radioactive waste to the air. This is indeed a “national project” to force radiation exposure on the entire Japanese population, including children. We cannot, and will not, allow it.

Petition Items

1. Retract the policy to use decontaminated soil, which contains radioactive waste, for public works.
2. Rethink the goal of the policy to “decontaminate and repatriate.”
3. Enlist wider participation from people inside and outside Fukushima Prefecture in deciding on issues related to decontamination and disposal of decontaminated soil.
4. Disclose all information regarding the Working Group on Safety Evaluation of the Effects of Radiation, including the names of members, meeting minutes, and reference materials.

First round: April 30, 2016
Second round: May 15, 2016
Third round: May 31, 2016
Send your signature to: Friends of the Earth Japan
Address: 1-21-9 Komone, Itabashi, Tokyo 173-0037 JAPAN Tel: +81-3-6909-5983 Fax: +81-3-6909-5986

Contact::
Friend of the Earth Japan
1-21-9 Komone, Itabashi, Tokyo
173-0037, Japan
Tel:+81-3-6909-5983 Fax:+81-3-6909-5986
http://www.foejapan.org/en/

(translated by Hiro Saito)

https://www.change.org/p/minister-of-environment-tamayo-marukawa-contaminated-soil-produced-by-the-nuclear-disaster-to-be-used-for-public-works?lang=en-US

 

Diablo Canyon: PG&E secretly used wrong design data for key safety equipment for 30 years

Press release from Friends of the Earth

Utility misled California PUC, seeks to pocket $133.5 million in ratepayer revenues

SAN FRANCISCO – Pacific Gas & Electric Co. used incorrect earthquake and accident data when building crucial safety equipment for the Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant, according to information released by Senator Barbara Boxer. Friends of the Earth said the revelation suggests that PG&E has acted with gross negligence and that the twin-reactor plant on California’s Central Coast should be immediately shut down pending a public investigation.

Correspondence from the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission — released by Sen. Boxer in a recent hearing and reported Sunday on Page 1 of the San Francisco Chronicle (PDF) — shows that since Diablo Canyon’s first reactor came online in 1984, PG&E failed to use updated seismic and loss-of-coolant-accident data, known as LOCA loads, for replacement equipment. Failure of such equipment in an earthquake could lead to a catastrophic release of radiation. PG&E should have used new data after a previously unknown fault, the Hosgri, was discovered during initial construction, but violated its federal operating license by failing to use the updated data in conjunction with loss of cooling accident data in designing and constructing replacement steam generators and reactor vessel heads for the reactors.

In 2011, PG&E notified the NRC of its decades-long negligence, but incredibly, the NRC failed to cite PG&E for any infraction. Instead NRC and PG&E worked together to secretly and illegally alter the plant’s operating license in September 2013. Friends of the Earth has a case pending in the U.S. Court of Appeals asking that the illegal license revision be thrown out and that Diablo Canyon be shut pending public review to determine whether or not the reactors can withstand the forces of newly identified earthquake faults that surround the plant.

Instead of addressing its malfeasance, PG&E launched an internal effort to try to show that despite using the wrong design data, the equipment it had installed was OK. PG&E has asked the California Public Utilities Commission for $133.5 million from ratepayers for what it calls a “Licensing Basis Verification Program.” The utility did not explain that they were asking to bill their customers for a paper exercise to cover up its negligence in the faulty design of well over $1 billion worth of equipment, also paid by customers.

Since the Hosgri Fault was discovered, new research has revealed that at least four faults surrounding Diablo Canyon are capable of causing earthquakes more powerful than the reactors were designed to withstand The plant’s former NRC senior resident inspector, Dr. Michael Peck, warned last year that the increased risks from earthquakes meant that the plant was operating outside of its license and should be shut pending review — a warning that came before the revelations about PG&E’s use of outdated safety data.

“This shows gross negligence by PG&E and a shameful lack of oversight by federal regulators,” said Damon Moglen, senior strategic advisor to Friends of the Earth. “It’s terrifying to think that for 30 years PG&E used the wrong numbers for vital equipment at the U.S. reactors most at risk from earthquakes.”

“No one would dream of putting nuclear reactors in that location today,” Mogen said. “Diablo Canyon should never have been constructed in the first place, and now it is clear it should not be allowed to operate another day. Diablo Canyon must be shut down now, and there should be both state and federal investigations into PG&E’s negligence.”

Dave Freeman, former head of the federal Tennessee Valley Authority, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power and the Sacramento Municipal Utility District, said PG&E’s negligence fits the utility’s pattern of cutting corners on safety, which led to the fatal gas pipeline explosion in San Bruno in 2010.

“There they go again,” said Freeman, now senior energy advisor to Friends of the Earth. “Just as with San Bruno, PG&E has again put profits before safety, has misused ratepayers’ money and misled state regulators at the PUC.”

Expert Contact: Damon Moglen, (202) 352-4223, dmoglen@foe.org

Communications Contacts: Bill Walker, (510) 759-9911, bw.deadline@gmail.com (West Coast)  Adam Russell, (202) 222-0722, arussell@foe.org (East Coast)

###

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

San Francisco Chronicle article:
http://www.sfgate.com/business/article/PG-E-overlooked-key-seismic-test-at-Diablo-Canyon-6
121386.php

US Nuclear Regulatory Commission expert says Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant should be shut down

In an internal report that was released August 25, NRC senior federal nuclear expert Michael Peck called for Pacific Gas and Electric’s Diablo Canyon NPP to be shut down pending a safety review. At issue is the recently discovered Shoreline Fault. However, the other three faults, including the Hosgri Fault, reportedly responsible for a devastating earthquake in Santa Barbara in the 1900’s, are also issues.

Here is a petition by Friends of the Earth to shut down Diablo Canyon:
http://action.foe.org/p/dia/action3/common/public/?action_KEY=16332

Last year, the Union of Concerned Scientists released a report on Diablo Canyon. They found the NRC was not holding Diablo Canyon to the same earthquake safety standards as other nuclear power plants.

This is a dangerous double standard,” said David Lochbaum, director of UCS’s Nuclear Safety Project and author of the report. “At other facilities, the NRC enforced its safety regulations and protected Americans from earthquake threats. Today, in the case of Diablo Canyon, the NRC is ignoring its regulations, unfairly exposing millions of Americans to undue risk.”

When similar concerns surfaced at nuclear facilities in California, Maine, New York, Pennsylvania and Virginia, the NRC did not allow the plants to continue to operate until the agency determined they met safety regulations…In contrast, the NRC has allowed PG&E to continue to operate Diablo Canyon’s reactors despite this known threat.
http://www.ucsusa.org/news/press_release/diablo-canyon-report-0381.html
NRC Fails to Apply Standard Earthquake Protection Protocols to Diablo Canyon Nuclear Plant, Report Finds

Peck first raised his concerns in September 2010 when he filed non-concurrence papers and later elevated them to differing professional opinion, the highest level of official dissent within the agency. His report said that pipes and other important plant equipment at the plant may not be able to withstand the maximum shaking that could be generated by the Shoreline fault, which runs 2,000 feet offshore of the plant.

“We find it completely disgraceful that the NRC hid these concerns for all these years,” said Jane Swanson, spokeswoman for the antinuclear group San Luis Obispo Mothers for Peace.

Peck recommended that Diablo Canyon be shut down until it can be proved that the plant could withstand a quake along the Shoreline fault, a process that could require an amendment to the plant’s current operating license.
http://www.sanluisobispo.com/2014/08/25/3211883_report-diablo-canyon-closure-nrc.html?rh=1
Report calling for Diablo Canyon’s closure raises concerns locally, August 25, 2014

According to Peck’s filing, PG&E research in 2011 determined that any of three nearby faults – the Shoreline, Los Osos and San Luis Bay – is capable of producing significantly more ground motion during an earthquake than was accounted for in the design of important plant equipment. In the case of San Luis Bay, it is as much as 75 percent more.
http://www.ktvu.com/news/news/ap-exclusive-expert-calls-diablo-canyon-shutdown/ng8Tj/
AP Exclusive: Expert calls for Diablo Canyon shutdown, Aug. 25, 2014

On August 26, Friends of the Earth filed a formal petition with the NRC:

Friends of the Earth — an advocacy group critical of the nuclear power industry — filed a petition with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission asking for a hearing and charging the Diablo Canyon plant is violating its operating license.

… The group argues the reactors located between Los Angeles and San Francisco should remain closed until a rigorous safety review is completed and PG&E amends its federal license.
http://www.sanluisobispo.com/2014/08/26/3213001/group-files-petition-to-idle-california.html#storylink=relast
Group files petition to idle Diablo Canyon nuclear plant, August 26,, 2014

Here is the AP exclusive on the Diablo Canyon report, and other news articles.

http://www.ktvu.com/news/news/ap-exclusive-expert-calls-diablo-canyon-shutdown/ng8Tj/
AP Exclusive: Expert calls for Diablo Canyon shutdown, Aug. 25, 2014

http://www.sanluisobispo.com/2014/08/25/3211883_report-diablo-canyon-closure-nrc.html?rh=1
Report calling for Diablo Canyon’s closure raises concerns locally, August 25, 2014

http://www.sanluisobispo.com/2014/08/26/3213001/group-files-petition-to-idle-california.html#storylink=relast
Group files petition to idle Diablo Canyon nuclear plant, August 26,, 2014

http://www.ucsusa.org/news/press_release/diablo-canyon-report-0381.html
NRC Fails to Apply Standard Earthquake Protection Protocols to Diablo Canyon Nuclear Plant, Report Finds, November 13, 2013