2014 - 05 - 22 Statement made at NRC Annual Assessment Meeting in SLO

Spokesperson Jane Swanson commented on the deceptive label of "green" NRC findings and the extreme dangers posed by high burn up radioactive wastes.

The NRC’s finding presented during the Annual Assessment meeting of May 22, 2014, is that during 2013 the two Diablo reactors “operated in a manner that preserved public health and safety” …”because all inspection findings had very low (i.e.) green safety significance…”

Mothers for Peace wants the public to understand the definition of “green” and of “low safety significance”. Those terms mean that no serious consequences resulted from human error, fire, natural disaster or mechanical failures during 2013. It does not mean that the potential for great harm did not exist. Consider the drunk driver who arrives at home without a collision; his drunken driving would be considered “green” if law enforcement adopted NRC criteria. We do not consider “green” to be reassuring.

The greatest danger presented by Diablo is the radioactive waste in overcrowded pools surrounded by 13 earthquake faults. The so-called “spent fuel” is about 1 million times more radioactive than when it was first loaded as “fresh” fuel. And to make matters worse, for two decades PG&E has been using high burn up fuel.

High burn up wastes result when the fuel is left in the reactors for two years or more, rather than 18 months as when the reactors first went online in the mid 1980’s. The result is wastes that are up to twice as radioactive and much more unstable. High burn up wastes require 7 - 20 years to cool down in the vulnerable pools before they can be transferred into dry casks. Keep in mind that these pools are not protected from sabotage nor isolated from the environment by the containment domes.

In 2013 the NRC found that a relatively small spent fuel pool fire could contaminate an area 9,400 square miles large and cause the displacement of its residents for decades. The entire area of SLO County is 3,307 square miles!

(See the 2013 Expedited Spent Fuel Transfer Proceeding, available at http://pbadupws.nrc.gov/docs/ML1325/ML13256A348.pdf )

The risks are far too great, and California does not need this aging and expensive source of power. Shut this plant down, and help make California a truly green state.

For more information on high burn up radioactive wastes, go to http://mothersforpeace.org/data/archive/2014-05-01-high-level-radioactive-waste-at-diablo-canyon?searchterm=high+burn+up )

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For information on California consumption and generation of electrical energy go to http://energyalmanac.ca.gov/electricity/per_capita_electricity_sales_1990-2010.html

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