A Devil of a Gamble: Playing Chess with Diablo – Updated

“If its accidents do not end nuclear power, its economics will.” Ralph Nader 1992

Death and Antonius Block choose sides for the chess game; Death gets the black pieces. Still from Ingmar Bergman’s ‘The Seventh Seal’ 1957

Nine More Years
On June 28, 2016, the California State Lands Commission (SLC) voted unanimously to extend a lease agreement that will allow PG&E’s Diablo Canyon nuclear generating station to run for nine more years until its operating license runs out in 2025.

Both celebrated and condemned by groups on virtually all sides of the nuclear energy issue, the decision essentially gives the go-ahead to a Joint Proposal drafted by a group of parties including PG&E, Friends of the Earth, the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), Environment California, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 1245, Coalition of California Utility Employees, and the Alliance For Nuclear Responsibility.

CEQA Si, CEQA No?
The issue before the SLC was essentially whether or not continued operation of the aging plant – seriously impacting sealife and located over 13 earthquake faults – by a company currently under Federal indictment for safety violations, should require an environmental assessment under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). In saying ‘no,’the Commission, which includes Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom and state Comptroller Betty Yee, chose not to exercise its prerogatives under public trust doctrine and the CEQA law. Some groups are reportedly planing to sue the Commission on those issues, claiming that its decision will allow PG&E to run out the remainder of Diablo’s license virtually without oversight and regulation, while enjoying ‘full cost recovery.’

Seen from afar, the shutdown plan can be seen as confirmation that nuclear energy is not cost effective and will eventually be phased out – a blow to nuclear proponents. But for local and regional stakeholders, who will be living with the existential risks posed by the two aging reactors for the next decade, the slow motion shutdown plan seems like playing nuclear roulette with their lives, livelihoods and property. A recent study shows links between radiation spikes in Bakersfield and refueling shutdowns and restarts at Diablo.

Events at Diablo Canyon do closely fit with the beta radiation spikes. The start of the spikes begins as they power up unit 2 from a refueling outage. The other spikes match power up or power down events including the known feedwater pre-heater leak. Radiation releases are known to increase during refueling outages. Purges of decay tank gasses or areas of the reactor building during shutdown and startup activities have the potential to release radioactive contamination to the air. Leaking equipment such as a feedwater pre-heater (what leaked at Diablo Canyon #1) could potentially lead to leaks to the environment. Diablo Canyon May Have Leaked Significant Radioactivity In Recent Years

Seems like this finding alone should trigger a CEQA review.

Some say now that the shutdown has been agreed to in principle, it can and should be sped up with a more rapid transition to renewables – to which Diablo’s continued operation is a serious barrier.

In the interest of casting some light on the complex issues involved, EON offers the following video clips about this important decision making process.
[For more on this issue see: Anatomy of a nuke closure: How PG&E decided to shutter Diablo Canyon In a policy environment that prizes renewables, PG&E saw no cost-effective route to keeping the giant nuclear plant open

PG&E deal to close Diablo Canyon benefits residential consumers the most

The Solutions Project

Deep Decarbonization Project ]

Mothers for Peace Rally for an Enviro Review of Diablo Canyon
San Luis Obispo, CA – June 28, 2016 – Mothers for Peace holds a rally calling for a California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) review of Diablo Canyon’s environmental impacts.

The rally was held ahead of a California State Lands Commission meeting on a Joint Proposal by PG&E and environmental and labor groups to keep Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant running until its licenses run out nine years from now.

Mothers for Peace Spokeswomen Linda Seeley and Jane Swanson make the case for a CEQA environmental impact review, given the plant’s aging components, seismic risks and PG&E’s Federally indicted safety record. They are joined by Dr. Jerry Brown and Rinaldo Brutoco from the Santa Barbara-based World Business Academy.


For more info:
MothersForPeace.org
WorldBusiness.org

===============

PG&E’s Geisha J. Williams on Diablo Shutdown Proposal 6-28-2016
California State Lands Commission – June 28,2016 – PG&E President, Electric, Geisha J. Williams describes a Shutdown Proposal for the Diablo Canyon nuclear plant which the company arrived at in negotiation with a small group of environmental and labor organizations.

The Joint Proposal – provisions of which must still be approved by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) – plans for the nuclear facility to be shut down at the end if its operating license, nine years from now.


Video by Cal-Span.org Excerpted by EON as a public service.
The full California Lands Commission meeting for Jun 28, 2016 is available on-line at http://www.cal-span.org/media.php?folder[]=CSLC
=======================

PG&E’s Geisha J. Williams – Q&A on Diablo Shutdown Proposal
July 28, 2016 – PG&E President, Electric, Geisha J. Williams responds to State Land Commission questions on the shut down Proposal for the Diablo Canyon nuclear plant, which the company arrived at in negotiation with a small group of environmental and labor organizations.


Video by Cal-Span.org Excerpted by EON as a public service.

=============

John Geesman & Rochelle Becker on Diablo Shutdown Proposal 6-28-2016
Attorney John Geesman and Executive Director Rochelle Becker of the Alliance for Nuclear Responsibility (A4NR.org) speak at the July 28, 2016 State Lands Commission meeting about the Joint Proposal to shut down Diablo Canyon at the end of nine years. The Alliance is one of the Parties in the Joint Proposal with PG&E.
Video by Cal-Span.org Excerpted by EON as a public service.


Video by Cal-Span.org Excerpted by EON as a public service.

============

Betty Yee on the Diablo Shutdown Proposal – 6-28-2016
At the June 28, 2016 meeting of the California State Lands Commission, Chairwoman Betty Yee had this to say before she voted in favor of extending PG&E’s lease on Diablo Canyon land controlled by the Commission.


Video by Cal-Span.org Excerpted by EON as a public service.

=================

Gavin Newsom on the Diablo Shutdown Proposal – 6-28-2016
At the June 28, 2016 meeting of the California State Lands Commission, Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom had this to say before he voted in favor of extending PG&E’s lease on Diablo Canyon land controlled by the Commission.


Video by Cal-Span.org Excerpted by EON as a public service.

===============
If you like EON’s work, you can support it, whatever your budget level, here.

About James Heddle

James Heddle and Mary Beth Brangan administer this blog as well as NoNukesCA.net and eon3EMFblog.net. Award-winning media producers as well as educators and community organizers, they co-direct EON - the Ecological Options Network . The EON YouTube channel has over 700 posts and over 5,000 subscribers.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*