Fukushima Aftermath: Diablo Nuclear Redux?/Mothers for Peace

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San Luis Obispo Mothers for Peace is a grassroots anti-nuclear lobby group which is depicted in the anti-nuclear film Dark Circle for its' activity in the early years of protests against DCPP. It has maintained a continuing presence but subsequently other leaders have emerged in the anti-nuclear movement in the DCPP area. DCPP was the first nuclear power plant to have its license suspended, which resulted from disclosure that they installed safety systems essentially backwards.[citation needed] It is alleged that the safety flaws were on the order of three thousand resulting from falsified documents, inadequate training and other issues.[citation needed] In the film Dark Circle, the San Luis Obispo Mothers for Peace leadership contends that its delaying tactics were responsible for delaying deployment of the reactor into online operations until the errors were discovered.[1]

Early years[edit]

Origins: The San Luis Obispo Mothers for Peace came together in 1969. A young mother had written a letter to the editor of the local newspaper[citation needed]asking that people who shared her sadness and frustration at the needless loss of life in the Vietnam War join her in searching out ways to act effectively as a group. The shared values and compelling need to act that originally brought the group together have continued to characterize the Mothers for Peace.

Non-profit: The group is a local, non-profit organization (501c3). Its members include mothers, grandmothers, and non-parents. Its membership is predominantly, but not exclusively, women.

Mission: The organization’s concerns include the dangers of nuclear power, weapons, and waste on national and global levels. Additionally, the Mothers for Peace cares about peace, social justice, and a safe environment. The group takes on all of these issues, working to make the world safer and more humane for generations to come.[citation needed]

Legal Intervention: Since 1973, the Mothers for Peace has focused much of its attention on the local dangers involving Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant. It has been the legal intervenor[citation needed] for over three decades of controversy concerning the construction, licensing, and operation of the Diablo Canyon facility.

The organization utilizes all legal means to ensure safe operation and compliance with State and Federal Laws. See the Path of Legal Resistance.

Specifically, Mothers for Peace has been involved in litigation and public hearings involving the following issues: initial and subsequent licenses, seismic safety, County Emergency Response Plan, high level radioactive waste storage, rate structure and deregulation, degradation of coastal waters, plant security.


Dark Circle,[2] winner of the Grand Prize at the Sundance Film Festival and recipient of a national Emmy Award, focuses on plutonium at various locations culminating in the protests atDiablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant. The climax of the movie, and of the anti-nuclear movement, was the expose that the blueprints had been read backwards at DCPP. According to the documentary film, the movement took credit for delay of the plant opening until after the error had been discovered. There were objections to various procedures and the fact that no nuclear power plant license in the US had been denied. There was also objection to requirement that testimony at hearings were restricted to defined topics. The leader of SLOMFP at the time was a woman named Ray Fleming, who is depicted lobbying iron workers and others in an attempt to forge an alliance with "the mothers". Another complaint was that putatively the emergency core cooling system failed early scale model testing.There was also the contention that marine life would die, there would be cancer leukemia and birth defects.[citation needed]

Current activities[edit]

A June 7 Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) Order to delay for 52 months the schedule for hearings on an application for license renewal at the Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant leads to the inescapable conclusion that the original schedule was unjustified. is the result of pressure from Congresswoman Lois Capps and others.[citation needed] The Order, issued by the NRC’s Atomic Safety and Licensing Board (ASLB), vindicates San Luis Obispo Mothers for Peace’s (MFP’s) position that Pacific Gas and Electric Company’s (PG&E’s) September 2009 application for license renewal was premature, and that meaningful assessment of that application could not be justified before critical seismic studies were completed. is claimed as a victory by both pro- and anti- nuclear forces.[citation needed] The ASLB recognizes[citation needed]that these studies are crucial to the environmental analysis for Diablo Canyon. PG&E expects to complete required seismic studies by December 2015.[citation needed]

Prior to this Order, hearings were scheduled to take place before the completion of seismic studies, and only a final decision would have been delayed until the end of 2015.[citation needed]

“This more realistic schedule is especially important in light of the Fukushima catastrophe,” MFP spokesperson Jane Swanson comments. “It provides four-plus years to examine and apply the lessons yet to be learned from the Fukushima disaster.” [3]

[4]

BACKGROUND:[edit]

[citation needed]

The current operating licenses for Diablo Canyon’s two nuclear reactors expire in 2024 and 2025, respectively. PG&E applied on November 23, 2009 to continue operations until 2044/2045.

San Luis Obispo Mothers for Peace filed a legal challenge against PG&E’s application for license renewal in March of 2010, represented by attorney Diane Curran of Washington D.C.

A summary of the four MFP Contentions accepted by the ASLB follows. Note that the ASLB Order of June 7 is in agreement with the first of the Contentions. MFP has not, however withdrawn the Contention, pending future developments.

PG&E ‘s application lacks crucial information on the seismic risks to Diablo, given that studies of the Shoreline Fault, identified in 2008, are incomplete. Seismic studies of the newly discovered fault and its potential interaction with the Hosgri fault will not be completed until 2013. SLOMFP contends that PG&E and the NRC should wait for the study results before reaching any conclusions about the risks posed by severe earthquakes.

PG&E has failed to demonstrate the ability to safely manage the aging plant, which was designed in the 1960’s, and constructed between the late 1960’s and the early 1980’s. 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 failed to address the airborne environmental impacts of a reasonably foreseeable spectrum of spent fuel pool accidents, including accidents caused by earthquakes, as required by the National Environmental Policy Act.

PG&E’s application lacks a required discussion of the cost-effectiveness of measures to mitigate the environmental impacts of a terrorist attack on the Diablo Canyon reactor during the license renewal term.

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.


Link for printing:

http://mothersforpeace.org/copy_of_4.14.11MFPpositionpaper.pdf


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.

FUKUSHIMA

2011 Disaster in Japan Despite the many precautions and redundant features used in nuclear power facilities, the forces of nature remain unpredictable and - and in Japan - devastating. 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 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 its filing to oppose the license renewal, Mothers for Peace presented five contentions, four of which relate to the potential environmental impacts of earthquakes. More information regarding this litigation can be found at:http://mothersforpeace.org/newsAndEvents/licenserenewalcontentions

The world has ignored the warnings from Three Mile Island and Chernobyl. The catastrophe in Japan now reignites the debate regarding the viability of nuclear energy. Is it worth the risk? Mothers for Peace perseveres towards the ultimate safety plan: closed and decommissioned nuclear facilities.

Mothers for Peace invites you to join us in our efforts. Educate yourself by reading our websitehttp://mothersforpeace.org and support our work with a donation. Take action through a myriad of websites with easy-to-access online petitions. Recommendations include the following:

Nuclear Information Resource Service http://www.nirs.org/

Beyond Nuclear http://www.beyondnuclear.org/

Union of Concerned Scientists http://www.ucsusa.org/nuclear_power/

NRDC https://secure.nrdconline.org/

Sierra Club http://www.sierraclub.org/

CREDO Action http://www.credoaction.com/campaign/say_no_to_nuclear/?rc=homepage

Alliance for Nuclear Responsibility http://a4nr.org/


Future generations are counting on the collective action of caring people to preserve and protect our Earth.

LA Times Editorial: http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/editorials/la-ed-nuclear-20110314,0,7818400.story

You can find recent updates of the crisis in Japan from Nuclear Information Resource Service at: http://www.nirs.org/fukushima/crisis.htm




Interest in issues with which SLOMFP contend have received considerable heightened public interest subsequent to the Fukushima nuclear accidents. The primary current roles of SLOMFP consists of a website, outreach efforts of Jane Swanson,[5] the current spokesperson, fundraising, and litigation. Discovery of a new earthquake fault near DCPP re-energized the anti-nuclear movement in San Luis Obispo county, and Swanson travelled to Santa Barbara and took part in a forum at the Faulkner Gallery of the Central Library on June 30, 2011. The meeting was attended by Supervisor Janet Wolf and co-hosted by the Nuclear Ages Peace Foundation and the Santa Barbara chapter of the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom. SLOMFP was traumatized by an alleged embezzlement[6] of $31,000 by their former treasurer, who was prosecuted and appeared in SLO criminal court in November for pre-trial procedures.[7] Despite this, and its history of civil disobedience, SLOMFP contends that it possesses security clearances such that the NRC should grant it access to information on terrorism vulnerabilities of DCPP with respect to nuclear spent fuel storage. Swanson frequently discusses various forms of vulnerability, specifically challenging the adequacy of the no-fly zone policies putatively in place over Diablo. For instance, in an interview with KCSB's radio journalist Cathy Murrillo, Swanson contends that according to the FAA it is not a no-fly zone but merely a pilot advisory not to loiter. [8] She frequently cites outside experts such as the Union of Concerned Scientists or the National Academy of Science.



Litigation[edit]

The litigation is before the Atomic Safety Licensing Board where they are advancing four legal contentions which have been placed on hold as of the Order of June 7, 2011. The primary coordinator of the litigation is Elizabeth Apfelberg, who is also Treasurer, whom their website bills as a "lay attorney". Apfelberg has been with SLOMFP since 1973. [9] They also employ attorney Diane Curran. [10] Swanson was quoted by an environmentally oriented online journalist as summarizing their intent as follows: “Our goal, with the services of our attorney in Washington D.C., Diane Curran, is to ensure that safety issues pertaining to both the reactors and the radioactive wastes at Diablo Canyon are fully studied before the NRC considers PG&E’s application for license renewal.”[11]

Four contentions[edit]

They claim that

  • PG&E ‘s application lacks crucial information on the seismic risks to Diablo.

Seismic studies of the newly discovered fault are due to be done in 2013. SLOMFP contends that those reports must be complete before any calls are made regarding earthquake risks.

  • PG&E has an “adverse trend” of chronic errors in the management and cannot

identify and correct current problems, despite elaborate measures undertaken by PG&E as documented on public TV hearings at which SLOMFP members posed numerous questions. SLOMFP claims that aging effects (corrosion, degradation) will defeat the engineers.

  • PG&E is not dealing with airborne environmental impacts of potential spent

fuel pool accidents, and is thus in violation of NEPA (the National Environmental Policy Act).

  • SLOFP also demands studies of cost-effectiveness of environmental mitigation

with respect to terrorist attacks