from the grassroots to the planetary

Monthly Archives: July 2016

“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.

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:


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 Excerpted by EON as a public service.
The full California Lands Commission meeting for Jun 28, 2016 is available on-line at[]=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 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 ( 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 Excerpted by EON as a public service.

Video by 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 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 Excerpted by EON as a public service.

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


Guest Blog by Cecile Pineda

[ Author of Apology to a Whale: Words to Mend a World, available from

“An urgent re-framing of current ecological thinking, Apology To A Whale addresses what the intersection of relative linguistics and archeology reveals about the present world’s power relations, and what the extraordinary communication of plants and animals can teach us.” ]

The North Atlantic Treat Organization (that’s NATO to you) is scheduled to hold a three-day summit in Warsaw, Poland starting July 8. U.S. Peace organizations have been contacted to join the international protest.

Why we urgently need to get involved:
The U.S. through its NATO surrogates, has established bases fronting Russia’s western borders, furnishing them with troops, and equipping them with long range missiles targeting Moscow and other Russian Cities, sharply increasing the very real risk of all-out nuclear war.

Polish and all other International Organizers are calling for:

•No troops or maneuvers at Russia’s Western border
•No further armament of NATO member states, especially at the expense of health, education and welfare
•No new nuclear weapons and no modernization of existing arsenals worldwide
•No missile defense system in Eastern Europe
•No NATO operations against refugees

Sign the request for endorsement


In solidarity with European protesters, and in coalition with other peace and anti-nuclear organizations, Code Pink will focus its monthly Bridge Walk for Peace to protest NATO’s increasingly threatening maneuvers on the West’s border with Russia. All Bay Area peace organizations are invited to join the events and to help spread the world.

When: Sunday, July 10. Rally and March at Noon (gather at 11:45 AM)
Where: Golden Gate Bridge. Gather at South End plaza for a rally; followed by a bridge walk.
Parking (carpooling highly recommended): arrive by 11:15 to grab a parking spot in either lot to the east or west side south bridge lots. OR park at Crissy Field and climb the stairs to the South End Plaza. The Plaza is also accessible by Muni bus route #28. To co-sponsor this event and for more information or: Toby Blome, email me


It’s time to retire NATO, which has been kicking around since 1949, 67 years of making sure the world is ready-or-not for democracy – U.S. style. Even dwarves start small. The original Western European Defense Organization of 5 countries prompted the U.S. to step in and enter into diplomatic/military talks resulting in the North Atlantic Treaty. Newly constituted, NATO, added 7 more countries, the U.S., Canada, Portugal, Italy, Norway, Denmark and Iceland. The 12-nation NATO’s goals articulated by Lord Ismay were “to keep the Russians out, the Americans in, and the Germans down.” Greece and Turkey joined in 1952, and the organization became the NATO 14. When the USSR proposed joining the organization only to be rejected, the snub resulted in the Warsaw pact, signed in 1955, which aligned the non-NATO countries including the USSR, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Poland, Bulgaria, Romania, Albania and East Germany in a defense pact of their own.

Balkanization: Divide…

The geopolitical power struggle seems to have had no choice but to escalate. In response, NATO added more arrows to its quiver. Shortly thereafter West Germany was included., and, following the formation of the apparently chummy NATO-Russia Permanent Joint Council, Hungary, the Czech Republic and Poland were invited to join, and parlaying the breakup of the Czech and Soviet Republics, Latvia, Estonia, Lithuania, Slovenia, Slovakia, Bulgaria, and Romania joined to become the NATO-25.

…and Conquer

Starting in 2004, as part of the NATO Baltic Air Policing program, jet fighters were deployed in countries bordering the former USSR, including Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia, culminating in the 2006 Riga Summit, the first NATO summit to be held in a former part of the Soviet Union. Another such summit, in 2008 held in Bucharest, expanded NATO-now-26 to include Albania and Croatia, and both the Ukraine and Georgia were told they eventually could become members (but, ah, ah, ah, not before the Ukrainian coup!) and provided for an anti-ballistic missile system to be deployed in Poland and the Czech Republic, provoking harsh criticism from Russia.

World War/Nuclear war

The 1954 North Atlantic Council document, MC 48, emphasized that NATO would have to use atomic weapons from the outset of any war with the then-USSR whether or not the Soviets chose to use them first, i.e. a First-Strike policy. So far, NATO has intervened by declaring no-fly zones and with bombings in the 1992 Bosnian War in 1999 in Kosovo, and in 2001, invoking Article 5, it responded with several official actions, culminating in its 2003 agreement to take command of the International Security Assistance Force including troops from 42 countries, eventually expanding its control of military operations throughout Afghanistan.

During the Iraq war, NATO provided trainers to assist the Iraqi security forces. It provided warships protecting maritime traffic from incursions by Somali “pirates,” whose aims were to prevent illegal fishing in their own Somali waters; and it was alert and ready to intervene in Libya by enforcing a no-fly zone, and supporting an arms embargo, going so far as to interdict any vessel suspected of carrying either illegal arms or mercenaries.

Running out of bullying energy?

But in June of 2011, then-U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates noticed that some member nations were sloughing off. He accused Spain, Poland, Netherlands, Turkey and Germany of not pulling their weight. Subsequently Norway scaled down, Danish fighters were (horrors!) running out of bombs., and the UK Royal Navy opined the Libya conflict was “unsustainable.”


Is it time for NATO to EXIT? Some speculations are in order:

1) Could the incursions of the NATO-28 amount to World War III under a rosier name?
2) Although NATO presents itself as a peace-keeping operation, its various commissions and subsidiaries all qualify as military operations; no peace commissions form any part of it.
3) Its pattern of expansion suggests conquest by a game of “Baby Steps” as in mother-may-I swallow up the Balkanized states of Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia, and the Soviet Union one by one in a slow dance toward total domination.
4) The not-entirely-surprising BREXIT vote seems to indicate popular opinion senses that bloated geopolitical amalgamations such as the European Union may have outlived their usefulness. Can BREXIT signal the eventual collapse an imperial enterprises such as NATO?


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