PG&E overlooked key seismic test at Diablo Canyon nuclear plant By David R. Baker March 7, 2015 Herried had this to say: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.
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. [emphasis added]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.
Friends of the EarthNews Release reprinted from:
Appeals Court will hear case on cover-up of Diablo Canyon quake risksPosted Feb. 23, 2015 / Posted by: Kate Colwell Friends of the Earth petition says NRC illegally let PG&E alter nuclear plant’s license
[ See also: Landmark Federal Court Decision: Will It Speed Diablo Nuke’s Demise? By Harvey Wasserman | February 24, 2015 ]WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit will hear, over the objection of Pacific Gas and Electric and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, a case brought by Friends of the Earth alleging that the NRC illegally allowed PG&E to alter the Diablo Canyon nuclear plant’s license. Friends of the Earth contends the NRC acted in secret, and in collusion with PG&E to hide Diablo Canyon’s vulnerability to earthquakes stronger than it was built to withstand. A decision in favor of Friends of the Earth could result in PG&E being forced to shut down the reactors, pending a public hearing to examine new earthquake risks at the plant. The D.C. Circuit ruled late February 20 not to grant a motion by the NRC and PG&E to dismiss the case on procedural grounds. The judges instructed that the case should be heard on its merits. “This is a big victory,” said Damon Moglen, senior strategic advisor for Friends of the Earth. “The public has a right to know what the NRC and PG&E won’t admit — hundreds of thousands of people are put at immediate risk by earthquake danger at Diablo Canyon. The evidence will show that the NRC and PG&E colluded to illegally change the terms of Diablo Canyon’s operating license, to cover up the fact that it cannot withstand a rupture of the larger, more powerful earthquake faults that have been discovered since the reactors were designed. This means the plant violates its operating license and must be shut down.” Under federal law and NRC regulations, changing the way seismic risk or reactor durability is assessed at a nuclear plant requires a license amendment and attendant public adjudicatory hearing. Instead, in consultation with PG&E in 2013, the NRC inserted a secret revision to Diablo Canyon’s license, changing the scientific calculations for assessing earthquake risks and retroactively declaring the plant’s two reactors strong enough to withstand far more shaking than they were built to endure. The secret revision of Diablo Canyon’s license was revealed in NRC documents made public in September 2014, when the agency rejected a dissenting appeal by the NRC’s own former senior resident inspector. The inspector, Dr. Michael Peck, concluded that Diablo Canyon was operating in violation of its license and should be shut down unless and until new seismic information was addressed. “PG&E’s recent study revealed that the earthquake threat at Diablo Canyon, as measured by its original license, could be far greater than that for which the reactors were designed. So PG&E and the NRC secretly amended the license to relax the safety requirements,” said David Freeman, former head of the Tennessee Valley Authority, Los Angeles Department of Water and Power and the Sacramento Municipal Utility District and a special advisor to Friends of the Earth. “This is not only illegal, it shows that PG&E has not really learned the lesson of San Bruno: that safety, not profits, must be its top priority,” said Freeman. “The risk of getting this wrong is the California version of Fukushima.” Briefing at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit will likely be completed in the next few months and a ruling is expected later this year. ### Expert contact: Damon Moglen, (202) 352-4223, firstname.lastname@example.org Communications contacts: EA Dyson, (202) 222-0730, email@example.com (East Coast) Bill Walker, (510) 759-9911, firstname.lastname@example.org (West Coast) – See more at: https://www.foe.org/news/news-releases/2015-02-appeals-court-will-hear-case-on-cover-up-of-diablo-canyon-quake-risks#sthash.VJrpQ9UE.dpuf
Letter to the Editor