— EWG: PG&E reports nuclear reactor welding leak at Diablo Canyon facility

From Environmental Working Group

January 5, 2023

PG&E reports nuclear reactor welding leak at Diablo Canyon facility

EWG: Critical questions about coolant system damage go unanswered

SAN FRANCISCO – Pacific Gas & Electric found damage to part of a reactor cooling system at the aging Diablo Canyon nuclear plant in California, but it hasn’t yet answered key questions about the extent of the problem.

PG&E is the owner of the state’s last remaining nuclear power plant, and found the fault with the reactor coolant system during a routine inspection in October. PG&E detailed the damage in a report[1] to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, or NRC, in December.

The power company says the system had a crack in the welding of the wall of Diablo Canyon’s Unit 2 reactor, which was shut down for refueling. PG&E says the presumed cause was fatigue, which was caused by vibrations at the facility indicating a weld defect. The utility says the damage meant the unit fell short of NRC operating requirements.

PG&E says it repaired the leak, and the public and plant workers were never at risk. But the utility’s filing with the commission raises several questions, including:

  • When was the affected weld last inspected?
  • When does PG&E believe the crack in the weld formed?
  • Why had the weld flaw not been identified?
  • What was the size of the leak when it occurred?  

“The communities near Diablo Canyon deserve to know the full details of the incident, how it happened, why it wasn’t discovered earlier and how long it took for PG&E to identify the damage to the reactor coolant system,” said Environmental Working Group President and California resident Ken Cook

“The main reason for shuttering this aging facility is the potential threat it poses to the public – and PG&E’s overall safety record across its vast service area in the state is among the worst of any power company in the country,” Cook said.

Diablo Canyon’s latest problem highlights ongoing concerns about the stability of the facility and shows why EWG and others are pushing to shut the plant down. 

Yet state and federal officials are trying to keep the aging facility operating beyond 2025, when it’s slated to shutter under the terms of a settlement carefully negotiated between PG&E, California and environmentalists.

Last September, at the urging of California Gov. Gavin Newsom, the state legislature approved Senate Bill 846, a law that will keep the plant operating for five more years, until 2030. It will also give PG&E a $1.4 billion loan to cover costs during that extra time.

In November, the Biden administration announced it will give PG&E more than $1 billion in federal funding to keep the plant operating past its scheduled 2025 closure date.

PG&E has also petitioned the NRC to fast-track its October 31 request to extend the license of the twin Diablo Canyon reactors. Four environmental organizations, led by San Luis Obispo-based Mothers for Peace, or SLOMFP, have sent letters to the NRC warning it would violate federal law if it accepts the proposal. The other groups that signed the letters are EWG, Friends of the Earth and Committee to Bridge the Gap.

“PG&E cannot have it both ways,” claimed SLOMFP Board President Jane Swanson. “PG&E stopped preparing the reactors for continued operation in 2016 and voided their license renewal. The company has spent the past six years preparing to mothball the reactors and has saved money by not investing in future operations. It is too late to get a license renewal before the plant must shut down.”

###

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) is a nonprofit, non-partisan organization that empowers people to live healthier lives in a healthier environment. Through research, advocacy, and unique education tools, EWG drives consumer choice and civic action.

https://www.ewg.org/news-insights/news-release/2023/01/pge-reports-nuclear-reactor-welding-leak-diablo-canyon-facility

[1] nrc[dot]gov/docs/ML2235/ML22355A081.pdf

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— PG&E asks to fast-track NRC safety requirements — Organizations respond with a second letter to NRC

From Mothers for Peace SLO

On December 6, 2022, in their second letter to the Commissioners of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) within the space of three weeks, four environmental organizations once again put the NRC on notice that the agency would violate federal law if it accepted Pacific Gas & Electric’s (PG&E’s) October 31 proposal to resurrect and fast-track its review of PG&E’s long-abandoned 2009 license renewal application for the twin Diablo Canyon reactors. San Luis Obispo Mothers for Peace (SLOFMP), Friends of the Earth (FOE), Environmental Working Group (EWG), and Committee to Bridge the Gap (CBG) warned that PG&E’s proposal runs afoul of the NRC’s safety requirements and procedures and would violate the federal National Environmental Policy Act.

The NRC terminated the Diablo Canyon license renewal proceeding in 2018 when PG&E decided to close the reactors in 2024 and 2025. “PG&E cannot have it both ways,” claimed SLOMFP Board President Jane Swanson. “PG&E stopped preparing the reactors for continued operation in 2016 and asked the NRC to terminate the license renewal proceeding. The company has spent the past six years preparing to mothball the reactors and has saved money by not investing in future operations. They can’t reverse course and revive a license renewal application that was declared dead years ago at their own request.”

Last September, the California Legislature passed SB 846 to provide PG&E with economic incentives to request a five-year extension of Diablo Canyon’s license from the NRC. “With years of extended operations on the table for this outdated and potentially deadly nuclear facility, it is crucial that we cut zero corners,” said FOE Legal Director Hallie Templeton. “The California legislature has not provided PG&E carte blanche to seek exemptions and streamline relicensing. If it intends to continue operating Diablo, PG&E should be required to file an entirely new and up-to-date license renewal application, which the NRC must thoroughly analyze by the full letter of the law before reaching a decision.” 

The organizations also noted that PG&E had no legal basis for its request to exempt it from important federal regulations requiring an environmental analysis before the NRC can allow the reactors to operate beyond their current license terms.

“The last time the NRC did an environmental review for operation of the Diablo Canyon reactors was 1993,” said Ken Cook, EWG’s President and Co-founder. “Given the potentially extreme impacts and risks of continuing to operate Diablo Canyon, it would be both illegal and sheer folly to proceed with extended operation in the absence of a thorough and up-to-date Environmental Impact Statement.”

Dan Hirsch, spokesperson for CBG, commented, “PG&E’s request to be exempted from regulatory requirements for Diablo Canyon is very dangerous. If the requested exemption were granted, Diablo could keep running, potentially for many years, while the critical issues of whether it is safe to do so are not yet resolved. This creates the potential for an accident and massive radiation release to occur after license expiration and before a renewal decision could be made on those vital safety issues. It is the proverbial nuclear version of shooting first and asking questions later.”

These groups, which submitted their first letter to the NRC on November 17, pledged to continue their efforts to ensure that any license renewal application filed with the NRC by PG&E is reviewed with all the rigor required by federal safety and environmental laws.

Organizations 12.6.2022 letter to the NRC

Organizations 11.17.2022 letter to the NRC

https://mothersforpeace.org/organizations-send-a-second-letter-to-the-nrc/

— December 14, 2022, Diablo Canyon Decommissioning Engagement Panel meeting

The Diablo Canyon Decommissioning Engagement Panel (DCDEP) hosted an informational online webinar on Wednesday, December 14, 2022 to update the community on the status and proposed schedule for the continued operation of the Diablo Canyon Power Plant (DCPP) and implications on decommissioning activities, such as, repurposing, land use, and environmental permitting.  The online meeting included presentations by PG&E, the California Energy Commission and the Diablo Canyon Independent Safety Committee.  Members of the community submitted questions and concerns prior to the meeting.  In preparation for the meeting, PG&E prepared a brief summary of SB 846 and the status of activities relating to the extended operation of DCPP.diablocanyonpanel(dot)org/wp-content/uploads/2022/11/SB-846-PGE-Summary-11_23_22.pdf

View meeting agenda, meeting recording and presentation materials —
diablocanyonpanel(dot)org/2022-panel-meetings/#12-14-22-panel-mtg

– – – –

From Mothers for Peace SLO prior to the meeting —

Topics include: review of SB 846 funding and accelerated permitting provisions to allow for extended operations; actions already taken by PG&E; the role of the Diablo Canyon Independent Safety Committee; the role of the Diablo Canyon Independent Peer Review Panel to address seismic issues; and implications of extended operations on the current decommissioning CEQA process.

No public comment will be allowed, but you may submit written comments at any time [to the Panel].
diablocanyonpanel[dot]org/submit-comment/

Talking Points:

  • There is supposedly a list being developed of deferred maintenance projects and the associated estimated costs. Who is participating in the compilation of this list? When will it be available to the public? Who will oversee these projects?
  • There is much controversy over the seismic safety of Diablo Canyon. What agency(ies) is/are responsible for the independent analysis of seismic dangers? How and when will the public be informed of the findings?
  • Explain the plans for how the high level radioactive waste will be stored as a result of the proposed extended operation. How will the fuel pools and the Independent Spent Fuel Storage Installation be managed? 
  • SB 846 allows 5 years of extended operation. But the 2018 agreement to shutter the reactors in 2024 and 2025, signed and approved by the CPUC and the NRC, was ignored and reversed. What assurance does the public have that the plant would operate for 5 additional years and no more?

PG&E’s Summary of SB 846 and the status of activities relating to extended operation
diablocanyonpanel(dot)org/wp-content/uploads/2022/11/SB-846-PGE-Summary-11_23_22.pdf

https://mothersforpeace.org/december-14-2022-meeting-of-the-diablo-canyon-decommissioning-engagement-panel/

— Why Diablo Canyon MUST retire — Mothers for Peace SLO

From Mothers for Peace SLO

DIABLO CANYON MUST RETIRE

There’s a misguided effort being pushed forward by some well-intentioned people who have joined the Nuclear Power Fan Club. These people truly believe that nuclear power will save the planet from climate disaster, and there’s a lot of money to be made.

The newly released Stanford/MIT study recommends exploring the extension of Diablo Canyon’s license to operate in order to combat climate change, but it completely ignores important conditions at Diablo Canyon: 

1. Diablo Canyon is situated at the nexus of at least 13 earthquake faults. Two of these, the Hosgri Fault and the Shoreline Fault, are classified by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) as “major” and “active.” Keeping Diablo Canyon operating beyond its planned closure is playing Russian roulette.

2. The Unit 1 reactor vessel was manufactured in 1967. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) reported it as “embrittled” several years ago. This reactor vessel has not had a mandated ultrasonic examination in more than twenty years. If Unit 1’s reactor had to be shut down in an emergency, there’s a chance that it could shatter like a glass of boiling water suddenly plunged into ice, resulting in unimaginable consequences. 

3. Seasoned, highly skilled workers are retiring and moving on, resulting in loss of institutional knowledge about the unique idiosyncrasies of Diablo Canyon. The effect is already being felt, according to information provided to Mothers for Peace by an unnamed employee. 

4. Underground pipes were installed at Diablo Canyon in the 1970s. These pipes are subject to high pressure and cannot be inspected. A severe earthquake is all it would take to interrupt the vital cooling water to the plant. Much maintenance at Diablo Canyon has been deferred because closure is imminent. This facility is OLD. These and other components are ready to retire. 

5. The spent fuel pools are overcrowded to at least three times their original capacity. A “beyond design” earthquake (think Fukushima) could crack the pools, cause water to leak out, and the spent fuel could spontaneously ignite – the most unimaginable catastrophe possible. This is a “low probability, high risk” scenario, and it’s not considered by the NRC in spent fuel pool safety analysis because “it won’t happen.” We hope not.

6. There is exactly enough space on the dry cask storage pad to accommodate 138 spent fuel casks containing highly radioactive fuel rods that will be stored after closure in 2025. If the lifetime of the nuclear plant were extended, a whole new dry cask facility would have to be permitted and constructed to accommodate the additional toxic waste. With no federal repository for high level nuclear waste, it’s going to be stored on our fragile coastline into the foreseeable future. 

7. There is no guarantee of “steady baseload power” from a 40-year-old nuclear power plant. Unit 2’s failed main generator was replaced for nearly $100 million in 2019, but failed again in 2020, working only 30% of that year and narrowly squeaking by during the peak load energy crunches. The complex and costly repairs of aging systems are likely to multiply in the ensuing years.

One must also consider Climate Impacts and Habitat Loss from Diablo Canyon’s Operation:

1. Diablo Canyon circulates 2.5 BILLION gallons of seawater through its piping every 24 hours in a once-through-cooling (OTC) system. Diablo Canyon’s cooling system is responsible for 80% of the loss of marine life on the California Coast. OTC is no longer allowed in California, but the State Lands Commission extended the land leases to 2024 and 2025 to coincide with Diablo Canyon’s operating licenses. With rapid worldwide depletion of fisheries and aquatic biodiversity, it is unacceptable to allow decimation of marine life in order to produce approximately 8% of California’s energy. Would the Lands Commission allow another exemption and sacrifice ocean life for Diablo Canyon’s operation?  

2. The seawater intake structure is vulnerable to rising levels of ocean water brought on by global climate change. This is the water that cools the plant. During seawater’s circulation through the facility, it warms by 19°F before being discharged back into the ocean, contributing to ocean warming. Think about it: 2.5 billion gallons every single day for 40 or more years. The math and the impacts are almost incalculable.

3. Nuclear plants emit huge amounts of heat from nuclear reactions into the atmosphere 24/7. Where does the heat go? Global warming. 

4. When uranium is mined, milled, enriched, and transported to nuclear plants, there is a spike in CO2 emissions. 

5. Uranium mining has decimated some 27,000 square miles of Navajo (Diné) land spread across Utah, New Mexico and Arizona which is home to more than 250,000 people. Many Navajo people have died from kidney failure and cancer, conditions linked to uranium contamination. And new research from the CDC shows uranium in the bodies of babies born now.

6. When a nuclear plant is built, hundreds of millions of tons of concrete are also manufactured. And when the plant is dismantled, this same concrete, plus steel, electrical wiring, plumbing, and radiologically contaminated material must be hauled away. All of it contributes to climate change. 

We can do better. People of the Central Coast have put up with living in a nuclear evacuation zone for the past 40 years. Nuclear power is dirty. It’s dangerous. Don’t buy the hype.

https://mothersforpeace.org/diablo-canyon-must-retire/

— California: San Luis Obispo educational series, Nov. 10, 2017; Jan. 10, 2018

From Mothers for Peace

When Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant ceases operation within the next few years, we will still be faced with the challenges of storage and transportation of the radioactive waste.

Learn about the options and challenges through an
EDUCATIONAL SERIES
presented by San Luis Obispo Mothers for Peace

Friday, October 20, 2017
Topic: On-Site Storage
Presentation by Molly Johnson, Mothers for Peace:
o Radioactive Waste Primer
o Spent Fuel Pools
o HOSS (Hardened On-Site Storage)
Dry Cask Storage: Speaker – Donna Gilmore, SanOnofreSafety.org, San Diego, CA
slideshow of a portion of this event:
https://mothersforpeace.org/data/AboutUs/index_html?_authenticator=fa02fce6a8454bfd3fb2fe7903755207f59c50a0

Friday, November 10, 2017
Topic: Yucca Mountain – is it viable?
Speakers –
Ian Zabarte, Principal Man, Western Bands Shoshone Nation Newe Sogobia, NV
Judy Treichal, Executive Director, Nuclear Waste Task Force,
Las Vegas, NV
Steve Frishman, Technical Policy Coordinator, Nevada Agency for Nuclear Projects, Las Vegas, NV

Friday, January 19, 2018
Topic: Transportation of Radioactive Wastes
Speaker – Kevin Kamps, Radioactive Waste Watchdog, Beyond Nuclear, Washington,
DC
Topic: Consolidated “Interim” Storage
Speaker – Diane D’Arrigo, Radioactive Waste Project Director, Nuclear Information Resource Service, Washington, DC

All presentations begin at 6:00pm
San Luis Obispo County Library, 995 Palm Street, San Luis Obispo, CA
http://mothersforpeace.org

https://mothersforpeace.org/resolveuid/9e583da9f0d94b0490510150ca2e1b7c

— Mothers for Peace argues for closure of Diablo Canyon in 2019

From Mothers for Peace
January 31, 2017

On Friday, January 27, Mothers for Peace through Ojai-based attorney Sabrina Venskus, submitted expert testimony to the California Public Utilities Commission showing that Diablo Canyon should be closed in 2019, not 2024. news release

One of Mothers for Peace’s expert witness, nuclear engineer Arnie Gundersen, chief engineer for Fairewinds Associates, Inc, provided testimony demonstrating unsafe and unreliable conditions at the plant.  Arnie Gundersen testimony

Another expert witness is David D. Jackson who works with the Department of Earth, Planetary, and Space Sciences at UCLA.  In his testimony, Dr. Jackson explains the many types of seismic damage to the plant in case of an earthquake. Among his assertions is that the substantial risk of earthquakes at Diablo Canyon nuclear plant has been underestimated, and that the seismic studies relied upon evaluate only a part of the risk which affects any decision of how long to continue operation of the two Diablo Canyon reactors.  David D. Jackson testimony

————————————–

NEWS RELEASE

For Immediate Release

January 31, 2017

Contacts:  Jane Swanson, spokesperson

(805) 440-1359

janeslo[at]icloud.com

 

Linda Seeley, spokesperson

(805) 234-1769

lindaseeley[at]gmail.com

 

On Friday January 27, San Luis Obispo Mothers for Peace (SLOMFP) through Ojai-based attorney Sabrina Venskus submitted expert testimony to the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) showing that Diablo Canyon should be closed in 2019, not 2024, because it is becoming unsafe and unreliable. SLOMFP’s expert witness is nuclear engineer Arnie Gundersen, chief engineer for Fairewinds Associates, Inc.

“Diablo Canyon was designed in the mid-1960s. Some of its parts are as dated as rabbit ears on a black and white TV.  This atomic power reactor is old and tired, and it is not reliable or safe.  The faster Diablo Canyon closes, the safer Californians will be,” stated Mr. Gundersen. Replacement costs for these outmoded parts at Diablo Canyon during the next 7 to 8 years are well in excess of a reasonable investment for a plant that is scheduled to shut down in 2024. Mr. Gundersen’s testimony also illuminates the degraded condition of tens of thousands of often neglected switches, plates, springs, shock absorbers, pipes, and other components of this aged atomic power reactor that are in danger of failing well before 2024.

The companies that own nuclear reactors have a tendency to defer needed maintenance and replacement of worn parts when permanent closure is imminent. Called “running to failure,” the operator tends to take a chance that the part won’t fail before the plant closes down. In an old car that is ready for the junkyard the owner won’t replace worn tires with ones that are guaranteed for 50,000 miles. Instead, he will take a chance that the tires won’t blow out before the old car is junked. If there’s a blowout in a tire, it can be hazardous. If there’s a failure of an essential component of a nuclear power plant, the costs of of replacement or of repair of damage can be huge.

Mr. Gundersen’s testimony, attached below, cites numerous parts and components at Diablo Canyon that have been listed in the 2017 Rate Case by Pacific Gas and Electric as in need of replacement. In Mr. Gundersen’s opinion, shutting the doors of the two reactors makes sense in 2019, before parts and components are forced to run to failure.

SLOMFP is commenting as a party to the California Public Utilities Commission’s proceedings on the Joint Proposal reached in June of 2016 between PG&E and several environmental groups and unions. SLOMFP has also submitted expert testimony to the CPUC by David Jackson, Ph.D. regarding seismic damage to the plant in case of an earthquake. SLOMFP has joined with Women’s Energy Matters of Marin County regarding timing and costs of replacing the needed power at Diablo Canyon with renewable energy, using the testimony of energy analyst Robert Freehling. SLOMFP compiled documents regarding the environmental effects of Once-Through Cooling on aquatic life around the facility. By co-sponsoring a portion of the testimony by the Alliance for Nuclear Responsibility’s attorney Al Pak, SLOMFP is objecting to PG&E’s request to recover the costs of its relicensing application filed with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission in 2009, but later withdrawn.

https://mothersforpeace.org/

— 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

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