2011-4-12 MFP presentation to San Luis Obispo Board of Supervisors

Jane Swanson spoke before the Board of Supervisors on behalf of the Mothers for Peace regarding PG&E's application for license renewal for Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant.

My name is Jane Swanson, and I speak on behalf of San Luis Obispo Mothers for Peace.

Yesterday PG&E requested that the NRC delay the processing of its application for license renewal until after the 3-D studies of the Shoreline fault are completed. PG&E cites public concern and the events in Fukushima among its reasons for asking for this postponement.

Mothers for Peace considers this delay a positive development, but it is only the first of many steps that need to be taken to ensure the safety of those living downwind from Diablo.

  • Given the Board’s responsibilities for public safety, I urge you to join Senator Feinstein in seeking improvements in the way spent fuel is stored at Diablo Canyon. Senator Feinstein, in a letter to NRC Chairman Jaczko, stated,“I am concerned that current Nuclear Regulatory Commission policies allow excessive re-racking and densification of radioactive fuel within spent fuel pools. In fact, there are examples in the U.S. where nuclear fuel rods have been stored in spent fuel pools for decades.”

Diablo Canyon is one such example. The over-crowding of the rods in the spent fuel pools greatly heightens the risk of fire should there be a loss of coolant, whether caused by earthquake, terrorist attack, or human or mechanical failure. The National Academy of Sciences found that the original design of the spent fuel pools provided for sufficient space between the fuel rods so that even if a loss of coolant occurred, a fire could be averted.

  • The Board should also back Congresswoman Lois Capps’ call

“to ensure the NRC is collaborating with other federal and state agencies by creating a joint panel to peer review, upon their completion, independent advanced seismic studies for all onshore and offshore faults in the area as requested by our state regulators and legislature. …”

(Emphases added)

PG&E’s request for postponement does not make clear if the thus- far unstudied San Luis Bay and the Los Osos faults are included in the projected studies. Neither is there any stated commitment to peer review.

As the Board is aware, San Luis Obispo Mothers for Peace has been opposing license renewal at Diablo for over a year to date. Issues remaining to be resolved in that case include PG&E’s ability to manage its aging plant. NRC inspection reports document an “adverse trend” of chronic errors in the management of safety equipment at Diablo Canyon.  SLOMFP is concerned that PG&E’s inability to identify and correct current problems in a timely and effective way will be repeated in the license renewal term, when detecting aging effects like corrosion and degradation will be even more challenging. PG&E has also failed to address the airborne environmental impacts of a reasonably foreseeable spectrum of spent fuel pool accidents, including accidents caused by earthquakes.

We thank the Board for its previous letter to the NRC, and ask that you continue to act on behalf of all your constituents to assure that public safety is the priority as PG&E’s application is processed.