[ From Friends of the Earth:
Emails suggest NRC and PG&E colluded to downplay Diablo Canyon earthquake danger
Posted Dec. 16, 2014 / Posted by: Kate Colwell
Despite denials, heavily redacted communiqués demonstrate collusion
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Internal emails show that the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission and Pacific Gas & Electric Co. may have worked together to counteract widespread news coverage. Numerous outlets reported that the former chief inspector of the Diablo Canyon power plant had warned superiors of new seismic data suggesting that the aging nuclear plant on the California coast is operating with an invalid license and may not be safe from previously unknown earthquake faults.
Friends of the Earth obtained more than 100 pages of NRC emails through a Freedom of Information Act request. Many emails were heavily redacted, but nonetheless show that the NRC knew the exact date and time PG&E would release a long-awaited report on the plant’s Diablo Canyon’s seismic safety, and the NRC responded by simultaneously releasing its verdict rejecting the former inspector’s dissent. The documents also show that while the NRC denied collaborating on release of the reports, they had worked for weeks on a media strategy based on prior knowledge of the PG&E report. Read more
San Luis Obispo Mothers for Peace has joined with Friends of the Earth, the Santa Lucia Chapter of the Sierra Club, and Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER), to file an appeal to the NRC to obtain unredacted emails between Pacific Gas and Electric Company and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. ]
What Could Possibly Go Wrong at Diablo?
That is the question dealt with in these two video excerpts from a Dec. 3, 2014 Senate hearing on post-Fukushima nuclear safety measures in the United States chaired by Senator Barbara Boxer.
Déjà vu All Over Again
Daniel Hirsch lays out the long, sad history of PG&E and NRC nuclear negligence and incompetence at Diablo Canyon in this excerpted testimony before Senator Barbara Boxer’s Committee on Environment and Public Works, Dec. 3, 2014.
Hirsch heads CommitteeToBridgeTheGap.org and is a lecturer at the University of California in Santa Cruz.
His testimony shows that from Humboldt Bay to Bodega Head to Diablo Canyon PG&E has consistently chosen nuclear sites on earthquake faults and the NRC has consistently failed to enforce its own seismic safety standards.
Now, although one of it’s own Senior Inspectors has reported that Diablo Canyon, located in a tsunami zone near San Luis Obispo, is out of safety compliance and called for the plant’s shutdown, the NRC has failed to take action.
Despite the recent discovery that Diablo Canyon sits on the intersections of 13 active earthquake faults capable of releasing far more seismic force than the reactors were designed to withstand, PG&E is applying for an extension of it’s operating license without making any upgrades and without a re-licensing hearing.
As other segments of this historic hearing make painfully clear, the NRC’s non-enforcement of it’s own rules and staff recommendations post-Fukushima has become standard operating procedure for a so-called ‘regulatory agency’ more committed to industry profits and the promotion of nuclear energy than the protection of public safety.
Sadly, this was Senator Boxer’s last hearing as Chair of this important Committee. The gavel will now pass to leading Republican climate change denier Sen. James Inhofe.
Republican Calls for Diablo Safety Probe
Dr. Sam Blakeslee, a Phd. geophysicist, former Republican California state senator, and former commissioner, California Seismic Safety Commission is advocating an immediate seismic safety investigation of PG&E’s Diablo Canyon nuclear plant near San Luis Obispo, CA.
In Dec. 3, 2014 testimony before Senator Barbara Boxer’s Committee on Environment and Public Works, Blakeslee – who is emphatically NOT ‘anti-nuclear’ – denounced the fact that as new discoveries of potential earthquake dangers have increased, PG&E’s standards for seismic safety have gone down.
It is now known that Diablo sits atop 13 intersecting active earthquake faults in a tsunami zone similar to Fukushima.
The plant was not designed to withstand the level of shaking this network of active faults is capable of delivering.
A Senior NRC Inspector has called for the plant’s shutdown for being out of compliance with seismic safety standards.
Yet, PG&E is pushing to extend the plant’s operating license without retro-fitting or safety assessment.
Sen. Blakeslee is calling for an immediate NRC re-licensing hearing.
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