2011-4-11 MFP Position Paper on implications of Fukushima disaster

Mothers for Peace responds to the tragedy in Japan and the implications for Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant.

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Mothers for Peace is monitoring information about the earthquakes and tsunami in Japan and the effects on the many nuclear power plants there. We share the grave concerns for the people of Japan and for the planet as we contemplate the possible consequences of radiation releases.

The devastation in Japan offers a vivid reminder of one of the many significant risks of nuclear power.  The crisis requires us to scrutinize the safety of nuclear facilities in our own country - particularly those in seismically active zones. Since 1973, Mothers for Peace has been actively opposed to both nuclear power and weapons – both locally at Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant and globally.  Aside from the seismic dangers, our concerns are many and include:

  • the implicit hazards of nuclear waste storage, both in the fuel pools and in the dry casks;
  • risks of terrorism;
  • aging systems and components;
  • human error in daily operations;
  • the high cost of production;
  • emergency preparedness

This tragic earthquake in Japan comes at a time when Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) is attempting to renew its license for Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant – extending its operation in the two units until the years 2044 and 2045.   The plant and the radioactive waste it has produced since 1984 are located in an area riddled with more than a dozen earthquake faults.

In the Mothers for Peace filing to oppose the license renewal, four contentions were accepted for litigation – two of which relate to the potential environmental impacts of earthquakes. The events unfolding in Japan will certainly impact our legal options for using the “lessons learned” to support this litigation.  Mothers for Peace Attorney Diane Curran has already filed a Freedom of Information Act Request.  The Request asks for “All records created since March 10, 2011, containing measurements of radiation released to air, soil and water from the Fukushima reactors in Japan”.

More information regarding this Mothers for Peace opposition to license renewal can be found at:http://mothersforpeace.org/newsAndEvents/licenserenewalcontentions

On April 14, 2011, Diane Curran also filed an Emergency Petition on behalf of Mothers for Peace and 44 other groups across the nation, asking the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) to immediately suspend all licensing proceedings now underway at 21 plants until the NRC completes a thorough post-Fukushima reactor crisis examination comparable to the process set up in the wake of the 1979 accident at Three Mile Island.  The petitioners are also asking the NRC to supplement its own investigation by establishing an independent commission.

Mothers for Peace is encouraged by recent actions taken by political leaders and State and Federal Agencies, some of which include the following:

  • The NRC has launched a two-step review of the U.S. nuclear power plants.
  • State Senator Sam Blakeslee has asked PG&E to withdraw its relicensing application.
  • U.S. Representative Lois Capps is asking that seismic issues at Diablo Canyon be thoroughly re-examined.
  • State Senators Boxer and Feinstein are voicing their concerns regarding the two California nuclear plants – both situated near earthquake faults.
  • San Luis Obispo Board of Supervisors has sent a letter to the NRC asking that the relicensing of Diablo Canyon be delayed until seismic studies are complete.

Mothers for Peace invites you to join us in our efforts. Educate yourself by reading our website, and support our work with a donation.