— 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 holds meetings on Diablo Canyon deal

Great venue to hold protests and inform the public.

Press release from PG&E, July 10, 2016

…There will be four meetings, two in each location. The content of the meetings will be identical. This is to provide more chances for the public to participate. At these meetings, PG&E staff will present information about the joint proposal, address questions, and provide attendees an opportunity to provide feedback and commentary on the joint proposal.

In late June, the State Lands Commission voted to approve a lease extension necessary to run Diablo Canyon Power Plant (DCPP) to 2025, a critical first step toward realizing the goals outlined in the joint proposal. Consideration of the joint proposal moves next to the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC). PG&E will file the proposal with the CPUC on July 28.

Following these meetings, a public report will be made available that summarizes public questions and commentary gathered at these public information meetings and will be submitted with PG&E’s filing with the CPUC.

San Francisco
July 22, 2016
Meeting 1: 12:00- 3:45pm
Meeting 2: 4:15-8:00pm
South San Francisco Conference Center
255 S. Airport Boulevard
South San Francisco, CA 94080

San Luis Obispo
July 20, 2016
Meeting 1: 12:00- 3:45pm
Meeting 2: 4:15-8:00pm
Embassy Suites
333 Madonna Road
San Luis Obispo, CA 93405

Meetings are open to the public. Each meeting will cover the same information and follow the same format.

For parties unable to attend public information meetings, comments can be submitted to diablocanyon@pge.com prior to July 26, 2016.

Joint Proposal

Reflecting California’s changing energy landscape, PG&E announced a joint proposal with labor and leading environmental organizations on June 21, 2016, that would increase investment in energy efficiency, renewables and storage beyond current state mandates while phasing out PG&E’s production of nuclear power in California by 2025.

The joint proposal would replace power produced by two nuclear reactors at the Diablo Canyon Power Plant (DCPP) with a cost-effective, greenhouse gas free portfolio of energy efficiency, renewables and energy storage. It includes a PG&E commitment to a 55 percent renewable energy target in 2031, an unprecedented voluntary commitment by a major U.S. energy company.

The Parties to the joint proposal are PG&E, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 1245, Coalition of California Utility Employees, Friends of the Earth, Natural Resources Defense Council, Environment California and Alliance for Nuclear Responsibility.

The announcement of the Joint Proposal can be found here.

The Joint Proposal can be read in its entirety here.

Additional Information

Information on the State Lands Commission approval of necessary lease extensions can be read here.

Additional information prepared by M.J. Bradley & Associates, a strategic environmental consulting firm, can be accessed here.

Media contact:

PG&E 24-Hour Media Line
(415) 973-5930

 

— 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

 

 

— Hearing on Senate Bill 968 Diablo Canyon, June 22

Hearing
Senator Bill Monning’s Senate Bill 968 on Diablo Canyon
Wednesday, June 22
California Assembly Utilities and Commerce Committee
State Capitol, Room 437

The hearing starts at 1:30 pm.

The public may attend and give testimony on opposition to this bill.

Listen to this hearing )

Mike Gatto, Chair

S.B.No. 968 Monning.Diablo Canyon Units 1 and 2 powerplant.

http://autl.assembly.ca.gov/hearings

For the committee members and contact info:

http://autl.assembly.ca.gov/membersstaff

Committee Phone: (916) 319-2083

Sue Kateley,
Chief Consultant
Email: sue.kateley@asm.ca.gov

Edmond Cheung,
Senior Consultant
Email: edmond.cheung@asm.ca.gov

Heather Hamp,
Committee Secretary
Email:  heather.hamp@asm.ca.gov

 

 

— Action Alert from Mothers for Peace on SB 968

Update June 6: SB 968 passed the California Senate on June 1. It is now in the state Assembly and has has a first reading. Information on bill history :  http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billHistoryClient.xhtml?bill_id=201520160SB968

ACTION ALERT FROM MOTHERS FOR PEACE

PLEASE CALL, WRITE, OR FAX YOUR STATE SENATOR

http://findyourrep.legislature.ca.gov/ – follow link and enter zip code

VOTE NO – SB 968/THE MONNING BILL

SB968 would require Pacific Gas and Electric Company to submit an assessment of the economic impact for the regions surrounding Diablo Canyon that could occur if the Diablo Canyon power plant Units 1 and 2 were to temporarily or permanently shut down.

In light of the recent heavy push by The Breakthrough Institute, unions, and others to keep the plant open until 2044-2045, we feel that this bill will unintentionally become an organizing tool and “hit piece” for those asking for re-licensing.  Please write, phone, fax or email your state senator – tell them: VOTE NO!

  The bill is still unbalanced:   The inclusion of the words “beneficial” and “net economic effects” does begin the process of balancing the bill but that is where that “balance” ends.  The language of the bill itself still focuses on adverse economic effects.

  “Mitigation” is not clearly defined:  The terms “mitigate” and “mitigation” must be clearly defined or examples of the types of mitigation be described “Mitigation would include exploring the creation of jobs for which some employees at Diablo might be qualified or for which they could be offered training. Mitigation would also include the assessment of alternative renewable forms of energy that might be added at the Diablo Canyon site or at other locations in San Luis Obispo County or nearby regions.”

  There is no call to also study a successful closure:  SONGS was shut down unexpectedly thereby creating a lot of problems that would not have been present in a planned closure.  For a truly balanced study one must also look at another NPP that was “successfully” shut down.  In the State of California, that NPP would be Rancho Seco in Sacramento.  All of the waste is being stored on-site in dry-cask storage and the land around the closed plant is now a solar farm.  There are many lessons to be learned from Rancho Seco and a study of that closure must be included.

  The bill is incomplete; it does not direct a study of what happens in case of an accident: There are two ways Diablo Canyon will shut down.

A planned closure:

  • In 2024-2025 if relicensing does not occur and the plant closes when the current licenses expire

         In 2044-2045 if relicensing does occur.

An unplanned closure:

         The State Lands Commission denies Diablo Canyon land use permits and the plant must close.

         The CA State Water Board rules that Diablo Canyon is no longer exempt from the Clean Air Act and can no longer use Once Through Cooling.  The cost of building cooling towers could cause PG&E to close Diablo like SCGE did at San Onofre because of the generators.

         There is a larger than design basis earthquake that causes a radioactive release, spent-fuel pool fire or, worst case scenario, causes a melt-down in the containment.

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

To determine who your senator is, go to http://findyourrep.legislature.ca.gov/ and enter your zip code.

 

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

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

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

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

May 19, 2016

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

RE: SB 968

Senator Monning & staff;

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

We look forward to hearing from you soon.

SLO Mothers for Peace Board

Elaine Holder             Sherry Lewis

Lucy J Swanson           Nancy Norwood

Linda Seeley               Molly Johnson

Jill ZamEk

Cc: Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson
Assemblyman Katcho Achadjian

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

 

Consumer group builds searchable CPUC email database

From San Diego Tribune:

By Jeff McDonald | 4:52 p.m. May 23, 2016

The Santa Monica consumer group that prompted an investigation into Gov. Jerry Brown’s top aide’s contacts with regulated utilities earlier this year has built a searchable public database of thousands of internal emails to and from her former employer, Pacific Gas & Electric, and others.

The emails, released under the California Public Records Act and as part of the utility’s response to the 2010 gas pipeline explosion in San Bruno, were posted by Consumer Watchdog on a new website called PUCPapers.org.

The California Public Utilities Commission has been under criminal investigation since 2014 for its handling of the San Bruno explosion as well as the premature closure of the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station in 2012.

“The documents have already uncovered cozy dealings between regulated utilities and the government that go far beyond former PUC President Michael Peevey and one disgraced PG&E executive, to extend throughout the PUC, the Governor’s Office and other government agencies,” said Jamie Court, the Consumer Watchdog president.

“This is the political equivalent of the citizen science project,” he added. “What we’re hoping to do is give citizen activists the opportunity to explore and chart new constellations of corruption.”

In total, the database contains more than 130,000 emails and other documents exchanged between state regulators and utility executives, largely related to the San Bruno explosion, the San Onofre closure and the approval last year of the Carlsbad Energy Center power plant.

Much of the material previously was posted on the commission’s website in 2014 and 2015 or released to consumer groups under the public records law. But officials did not make the database searchable.

Earlier this year, Consumer Watchdog uncovered emails that reference former PG&E executive Nancy McFadden’s exchanges with Peevey and former utility colleagues, who appeared to have been discussing ways to get more utility-friendly people appointed to the commission.

McFadden, who resigned from PG&E in 2010 to become Brown’s executive secretary, became the subject of a Fair Political Practices Commission investigation in March after failing to disclose stock transfers and holdings regarding PG&E. She amended her disclosures but the case remains ongoing. According to PUCPapers.org, McFadden’s name came up at least 1,300 times in emails and other records, reflecting both her time at PG&E and her work as top aide to Gov. Brown.

jeff.mcdonald@sduniontribune.com

http://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/news/2016/may/23/consumer-group-builds-puc-email-database/

— Letter to California Committee on Energy in opposition to SB 968

From San Luis Obispo Mothers for Peace:

San Luis Obispo Mothers for Peace is one of 30 organizations going on record as opposing SB 968. That bill as proposed would focus on the adverse economic impacts to be expected when the Diablo Canyon nuclear plant shuts down. It fails to look at the advantages of plant closure or at opportunities for creating jobs by investing in more sources of renewable energy.

San Luis Obispo Mothers for Peace
Physicians for Social Responsibility-Los Angeles Southern California Federation of Scientists
Food and Water Watch
Green Action for Health and Environmental Justice Desert Protection Society
Committee to Bridge the Gap
Azul
Ecological Options Network
CodePink Women for Peace, Golden Gate Chapter
No Nukes Action Team
Nuclear Energy Information Service (NEIS)
Nuclear Hotseat
Nuclear Watch South
People of Faith for Justice
Residents Organized for Safe Energy (ROSE) Rocketdyne Cleanup Coalition
San Francisco Occupy Forum Environmental Working Group San Onofre Safety
Sunflower Alliance
Teens Against Toxins

Women for: Orange County
Tri-Valley CAREs (Communities Against a Radioactive Environment) West Berkeley Alliance for Clean Energy and Safe Jobs Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, Santa Cruz Green Party of San Luis Obispo
Nuclear Information and Resource Service
Public Citizen
Northern Chumash Tribal Council
Greenpeace

March 23, 2016

The Honorable Ben Hueso, Chair
And Members
Committee on Energy, Utilities and Communications California Senate
State Capitol
Sacramento, CA 95814

Re: SB 968 (Monning) – Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant – OPPOSE

Dear Chair Hueso and Committee Members:

SB968 would require Pacific Gas and Electric Company to submit an assessment of the adverse economic impact for the region surrounding the County of San Luis Obispo that could occur if the Diablo Canyon power plant Units 1 and 2 were to temporarily or permanently shut down. We urge a “no” vote.

Background

Diablo Canyon represents one of the greatest environmental, public health, and economic threats to much of California. Each reactor contains 1000 times the long-lived radioactivity of the Hiroshima bomb. The plant was built based on the assertion that there were no active earthquake faults within 30 kilometers. We now know there are at least FOUR faults, one of which is just a few hundred meters from the plant. The ground motion from an earthquake on any of those faults could be far greater than the plant was built to withstand. Just as at Fukushima, the fifth anniversary of which is now, a quake larger than the plant was designed for could release massive radioactivity and devastate a significant part of our state.

The original construction began in 1967. Diablo was designed and licensed to operate for 40 years. Unit 1 was licensed in 1984 and Unit 2 in 1985. Some of the equipment is already over 40 years old. Nuclear proponents are pushing to extend operations for decades more. The risks are just too great. We need to quickly transition from Diablo to renewables, and it must not be allowed to run beyond its design life and original license period.

Reasons for Opposition to Bill

  1. The bill is unbalanced. It orders a study of the adverse economic impacts of a plant shutdown. It does not consider the benefits of such a shutdown. Intentionally or not, the bill’s provisions pave the way for approval to extend Diablo Canyon operations beyond its original design life. As written, the bill does not address the adverse environmental, health, and economic impacts of a meltdown or other types of radiation releases.
  2. The bill is conceptually flawed. When Diablo closes—as it must at some point—that isn’t the end of the story. The electricity produced by Diablo will be replaced by new power sources, many of them renewables. These will produce jobs and tax revenues and other economic, environmental and health benefits. The issue is not simply what will be lost by a shutdown, but also what will be gained.
  3. There is no need for the requested analysis. PG&E in 2013 sponsored a study of the economic impacts of the plant. The number of jobs and the taxes paid are already well known. The requested new report is redundant and unnecessary, and would impose on ratepayers an expense for no benefit.
  4. We recognize that the idea, briefly referenced in the bill, of also studying mitigation measures for job and tax loss may seem at first glance attractive, but the bill doesn’t do anything substantive in that regard, and the harmful aspects of the rest of the bill in terms of aiding in the push for continued operation beyond the original license period far outweighs that.
  1. The real need, which is not addressed in the bill, is for the state (e.g., the California Public Utilities Commission and the California Energy Commission) to commence planning for the transition from Diablo Canyon to renewables. The licenses for Diablo expire 8-9 years from now. Thoughtful planning for transitioning to new renewables needs to begin now. This would be a triple win: eliminating the risk of a nuclear disaster in California, building up more renewables, and the jobs and other economic benefits from them. But the bill does nothing to get the state on the path to that transition.
  2. The bill would have PG&E identify contractors to perform the study, from which the CPUC would select a supposedly “independent 3rd party” to do the analysis. Given the troubled nature of the CPUC, the history of a too-cozy relationship with PG&E, the controversy over the illegal ex parte communications with PG&E, and the CPUC’s weak oversight of PG&E that contributed to the San Bruno disaster, the prospect remains high that the CPUC would merely select whomever PG&E wants. We note that a similar process resulted in a failure to select a truly “independent 3rd party” to conduct a review of PG&E’s proposal for an exemption from the Water Board’s Once Through Cooling (OTC) Policy. The Water Board was supposed to arrange for an “independent 3rd party” for this purpose, to be paid for by PG&E, but PG&E’s influence resulted in the selection of the Bechtel Corporation, which had in fact helped PG&E construct Diablo Canyon and which produced a report backing PG&E. The Bechtel report was called into question by many observers.
  3. The bill fails to put the state on record that Diablo Canyon should not run for decades longer than it was originally designed and licensed.

In summary the analysis the bill calls for is unnecessary and unbalanced and could amount to a state-ordered piece of advocacy for forces pushing for Diablo Canyon to operate far beyond its original design and license life. This could have great negative impacts on California. We recognize that this is not the intent of the author or co-authors, but nonetheless conclude there would be serious unintended consequences of the bill. We urge a “NO” vote.

Sincerely,

Azul, Marce Gutiérrez-Graudiņš

CodePink Women for Peace, Golden Gate Chapter, Cynthia Papermaster

Committee to Bridge the Gap, Catherine Lincoln

Desert Protection Society, Donna Charpied

Ecological Options Network
Mary Beth Brangan and James Heddle

Food and Water Watch, Wenonah Hauter

Green Action for Health and Environmental Justice, Bradley Angel

Green Party of San Luis Obispo, Peggy Koteen

Greenpeace, Jim Riccio

No Nukes Action Team, Chizu Hamada

Northern Chumash Tribal Council, Fred Collins

Nuclear Energy Information Service (NEIS), David Kraft

Nuclear Hotseat, Libbe HaLevy

Nuclear Information and Resource Service, Diane D’Arrigo

Nuclear Watch South, Glenn Carroll

People of Faith for Justice, Richard Kurrash

Physicians for Social Responsibility-Los Angeles, Denise Duffield

Public Citizen, Allison Fisher

Residents Organized for Safe Energy (ROSE), Gene Stone

Rocketdyne Cleanup Coalition, Cindi Gortner

San Francisco Occupy Forum Environmental Working, Group Cynthia Papermaster

San Luis Obispo Mothers for Peace, Jane Swanson

San Onofre Safety, Donna Gilmore

Southern California Federation of Scientists, Sheldon C. Plotkin, Ph.D.

Sunflower Alliance, Shoshanna Wäscher

Teens Against Toxins, Davis Gortner

Tri-Valley CAREs (Communities Against a Radioactive Environment), Marylia Kelley

West Berkeley Alliance for Clean Energy and Safe Jobs, Janice Schroeder

Women for: Orange County, Judy Curry

Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, Santa Cruz Sandy Silver

https://mothersforpeace.org/data/2016/2016-03-23-letter-to-california-committee-on-energy-in-opposition-to-sb-968-1

— 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