Monthly Archives: March 2015
El Diablo is in the Details
Last weekend’s front page ‘above the fold’ article in the SF Chronicle (see below) got the Diablo Seismic Debacle story out to a wider audience, but, according to Abalone Alliance archivist Roger Herried and former Coastal Commission Member Frank Eggar, it got some important facts wrong.
PG&E overlooked key seismic test at Diablo Canyon nuclear plant
By David R. Baker
March 7, 2015
Herried had this to say:
Interestingly damaged article on Diablo.
I thought I’d make a comment, but I’m being told that I can’t make one as I’m not authorized to do so by their system… Yep tried multiple times, but I get the following error when attempting to submit the below comment, which I waited five minutes and tried again. Also going over to twitter and was able to tweet etc.
…Here’s what I put together in about 3-4 minutes that you won’t see!
As archivist for the group that did blockades (note the plural) at the facility between 1977 through 1985, it should be noted that this piece is nice but clearly flawed in many ways. To begin with the slideshow says “hundreds” of arrests. Wrong. Actual number is just under 2,000 for the Ten day blockade in 1981.
This piece also fails to delve into just how large the opposition of those reactors was back in the day, and to what extent pro-nuclear forces had to get its way. From the Supreme Court case that resulted in leaked NRC transcripts to the Chron’s former TV station showing that the agency broke its own laws in allowing the facility to open, to the CPUC’s own $7 million investigation that was also scrapped in 1984 when the Brown Administration termed out. The republican controlled deal in 1988 resulted in the largest rate increase in Cal history, which in turn set off a revolt by large customers. That in turn led to Governor Wilson’s 1996 deregulation scam that gave $28 billion to PG&E & the owners of San Onofre that was then followed by 2001 Enron theft of billions. And of course, rather than let Gray Davis’ lawsuit over the theft happen, he was recalled. A minor problem of historic amnesia here by the media, all of which was organized to protect PG&E.
Frank Egger – who, as mayor of Fairfax, CA., became the longest serving elected official in state history – was also a member of the California Coastal Commission back in the day 40 years ago when Diablo was still only a radioactive gleam in Pg&E’s evil eye. Here’s what he recalls in a recent e-mail comment:
Today’s Chronicle has a story on Diablo Canyon but their facts may be wrong. They say Feds approved construction of the 1st reactor in 1968 before they knew of the fault lines. They talk about Hosgri’s fault being discovered in 1971. Prop 20 was approved by voters in Nov, 1972 and Diablo Canyon did not have a coastal permit to start construction. [Prop. 20 established the Coastal Commission and established regulations for coastal areas. PDF here.]
I remember it being on a North Central Coast Regional Commission agenda in 1973 for direction to give to the NCCC rep on the State Commission. I tried in vain to stop it. We, the Coastal Commission, knew about the earthquake faults and the danger of locating it on the coast. A split vote gave Commissioner Bob Mendelsohn (then also a SF supervisor) the green light for a yes vote. Frank Egger (I was mayor of Fairfax) was on the no side and Phyllis Faber on the yes side.
I attended the State Coastal Commission meeting in South San Francisco (I’m thinking late 1973 early 1974) )and during the break I was on stage trying to get State Commissioner Richard Wilson, Ronald Reagan’s appointee, to vote no on Diablo Canyon. the Coastal Commission knew about the fault lines when they approved Diablo Canyon.
Many thanks to Roger and Frank. As the current Decommission Diablo movement gathers momentum, its great to have the human resource of personal recollections like these to help us be conscious of and honor the movement’s historic roots.
Fred Collins, Tribal Spokesperson for the Northern Chumash Tribal Council, talks about the history and culture of his people, the impact of the Diablo Canyon nuclear plant on the regional environment, the Council’s plans for a National Marine Sanctuary Area in the region, and how Diablo Canyon got its name.
This is an excerpt from the Jan. 2015 National Conference on Shutting Down Diablo Canyon Nuclear Plant.