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.
Diablo police use a nose hold in making first arrest at main gate Tues. Sept. 15, 1981 by Steve Stallone
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.
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PG&E’s Diablo Canyon – An aging nuclear plant in an earthquake & tsunami zone run by a company under Federal indictment for safety violations. What could possibly go wrong?
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.
For more information:
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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
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
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Carole Hisasue (left) from Mothers for Peace translates for Fukushima refugee Chieko Shiina at the recent national Shutdown Diablo Conference in San Luis Obispo, CA. EON photo.
Letter to the Editor
Aging, dangerous plant
By Carole Hisasue
Los Osos – February 1, 2015
[ Reprinted from the San Luis Opispo Tribune ]
From Jan. 23 to Jan. 25, activists from California and throughout the United States and Japan gathered in San Luis Obispo to discuss key nuclear issues and strategies for shutting down Diablo Canyon, California’s last operating nuclear power plant.
Although the activists represented different groups with different concerns, they were united under the goal of promoting renewable energies that do not use fossil fuels or produce radioactive wastes.
Don’t take it personally, but we just don’t want an aging, dangerous nuclear plant and nuclear waste dump on our coast — or anyone else’s. Not when recent revelations have exposed collusion between plant operator PG&E and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to minimize the effects of the many earthquake faults under and around Diablo Canyon.
Not when we know that Diablo as well as decommissioned plants such as San Onofre, Humboldt Bay and Rancho Seco are storing nuclear waste in thin canisters capable of cracking after only two years of use. Not when Diablo’s once-through cooling is destroying our marine habitat. And certainly not when we have an ever-expanding renewables market offering plenty of electricity, jobs and tax revenues.
It’s time to wake up and smell the coffee, San Luis Obispo, and join the 21st century!
Fuel Chain Primer Nuclear Fuel for Dummies or Stop the Madness Now
An informative animation video by Carole Hisasue
Published on Nov 19, 2013
Nuclear Fuel & Waste for Dummies, Show to all your friends who know nothing about the horrors of nuclear fuel and the incredibly dangerous waste that it becomes.This is truly evil stuff that should never have been created in the first place. AND THEN SEND A COMMENT TO THE NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION! Comments on the nuclear waste issue are due by December 20, 2013 and can be emailed to: Rulemaking.Comments@nrc.gov Please cite: Docket ID No. NRC-2012-0246
From the Labor Video Project:Report From Fukushima And The Abe Government Expansion And Export Of Nuclear Plants
Reports were made on the continuing contamination in Fukushima Japan and the role of the Abe government. Chieko Shiina from Fukushima and a supporter of the Fukushima Collaborative Clinic, Isamu “Sam” Kanno of No Nukes Asia and Chizu Hamada of No Nukes Action spoke at the meeting. The presentations were translated by Carole Hisasue from Mothers For Peace. This conference took place in San Luis Obispo near the Diablo Canyon nuclear plant. It was called by the Nuclear Free California Network. and was held on January 24 & 25th, 2015
For more information
On Fukushima Collaborative ClinicNo Nukes Action CommitteeNo Nukes Asia
Production of Labor Video Project www.laborvideo.org