— 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

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— 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

PG&E covers up continued safety problems at Diablo Canyon

From the Lompoc Record
February 25, 2016

Nuke plant poses risks

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

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

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

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

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

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

by Simone Malboeuf
Los Osos

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

Posted under Fair Use Rules.

 

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

From Mothers for Peace:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

• Comments to the NRC on Diablo Canyon relicensing

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Strontium mimics calcium and is known as the bone seeker.

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

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

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

Arne Gundersen:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The result: snap, crackle, pop.

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

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

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

Vulture’s Picnic, p. 294-297

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

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

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

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

Shut down Diablo Canyon now.

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

• Diablo Canyon Power Plant renewal — Reopening of scoping process, public comments and hearings — comment deadline August 31

Excerpts from the Federal Register, July 1, 2015

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

Summary

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

DATES:

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

II. Discussion

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

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

a. Define the proposed action, which is to be the subject of the supplement to the GEIS;

b. Determine the scope of the supplement to the GEIS and identify the significant issues to be analyzed in depth;

c. Identify and eliminate from detailed study those issues that are peripheral or that are not significant;

d. Identify any environmental assessments and other ElSs that are being or will be prepared that are related to, but are not part of, the scope of the supplement to the GEIS being considered;

e. Identify other environmental review and consultation requirements related to the proposed action;

f. Indicate the relationship between the timing of the preparation of the environmental analyses and the Commission’s tentative planning and decision-making schedule;

g. Identify any cooperating agencies and, as appropriate, allocate assignments for preparation and schedules for completing the supplement to the GEIS to the NRC and any cooperating agencies; andShow citation box

h. Describe how the supplement to the GEIS will be prepared and include any contractor assistance to be used.

III. Public Scoping Meeting

The NRC has decided to hold public meetings for the DCPP license renewal supplement to the GEIS. The scoping meetings will be held on August 5, 2015, and there will be two sessions to accommodate interested persons. The first session will convene at 1:30 p.m. and will continue until 4:30 p.m., as necessary. The second session will convene at 7:00 p.m. with a repeat of the overview portions of the meeting and will continue until 10:00 p.m., as necessary. Both sessions will be held at the Courtyard by Marriott San Luis Obispo, 1605 Calle Joaquin Road, San Luis Obispo, CA 93405. Both meetings will be transcribed and will include: (1) An overview by the NRC staff of the NEPA environmental review process, the proposed scope of the supplement to the GEIS, and the proposed review schedule; and (2) the opportunity for interested government agencies, organizations, and individuals to submit comments or suggestions on the environmental issues or the proposed scope of the supplement to the GEIS. Additionally, the NRC staff will host informal discussions one hour prior to the start of each session at the same location. Written comments on the proposed scope of the supplement to the GEIS will be accepted during the informal discussions. To be considered, comments must be provided either at the transcribed public meetings or in writing, as discussed above.

Persons may register to attend or present oral comments at the meetings on the scope of the NEPA review by contacting the NRC Project Manager, Michael Wentzel, by telephone at 1-800-368-5642, extension 6459, or by email at Michael.Wentzel@nrc.gov, no later than July 31, 2015. Members of the public may also register to speak at the meeting within 15 minutes of the start of each session. Individual oral comments may be limited by the time available, depending on the number of persons who register. Members of the public who have not registered may also have an opportunity to speak if time permits. Public comments will be considered in the scoping process for the supplement to the GEIS. Michael Wentzel will need to be contacted no later than July 22, 2015, if special equipment or accommodations are needed to attend or present information at the public meeting so that the NRC staff can determine whether the request can be accommodated.

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