Monthly Archives: May 2012

No Nukes is Good News – EON Digest 5-25-2012

FEBRUARY 1, 2012. SAN CLEMENTE, CA. A surfer walks along the beach just north of the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station. A week of problems at the power plant has raised new safety concerns although officials insist that the plant is safe. (Don Bartletti / Los Angeles Times)

Update 5-28-12 Breaking (no pun intended):
Published on Monday, May 28, 2012 by Common Dreams
Growing Fear Over Fukushima Fuel Pool 4 as Wall Bulge Detected
TEPCO admits a bulge detected in the walls of Unit 4, stoking fears over the building’s stability

From Nukewatts to Negawatts
[Updated 5-26-2012]
As two members of the EON Team head south to a Nuclear Free California meeting about closing down California’s nukes, its good to be able to share some encouraging reports of shutdowns and protests along with the usual news of the nuclear nabobs’ negligence and nincompoopery.

Looking on the bright side – though many experts think fukushima’s Unit 4 fuel pool may be just one earthquake away from planetary disaster – Germany’s dump nukes policy seems to be working despite dire predictions, all but one of Japan’s nukes are down and it looks like California’s San Onofre nuke could be down for the summer unless Edison succeeds in its crazy plan of bringing it back on line at reduced power without fixing the problem.  

Of course the subtext of the San Onofre fight is: If it stays off all summer without blackouts, it shows it’s not needed.  So we hope the nuke owners aren’t tempted to do what Enron did and artificially create blackouts to scare people into thinking the reactors must be turned on despite the huge risk.  All this is totally unnecessary according to the numbers shown by the Independent Systems Operator. California’s ISO shows that the energy produced by the nuclear reactors at San Onofre could be replaced with energy efficiency programs that ratepayers have already been charged for in our electricity bills. The utilities already have over half a billion ratepayer dollars to spend for energy efficiency programs that must be used by the end of this year but instead of using this money for efficiency measures like buying energy efficient air conditioners for customers, the utilities want to reopen a dirty gas fired power plant in Huntington Beach.

A featured video in this edition is Womens Energy Matters Executive Director’s presentation at a recent Sierra Club ‘No Nukes Summit’ in Washington, D.C., showing how conservation and efficiency – what Amory Lovins calls ‘negawatts’ – can replace California’s nukes at San Onofre and Diablo Canyon. Here’s a digest before we hit the road, including some interesting videos. Eds.

Featured Videos
A disaster waiting to happen
Friends of the Earth (FOE) San Onofre 30 sec. spot

From Nukes to Efficiency, Conservation & Renewables – Barbara George

From Beyond Nuclear:
“Nuclear industry suffers major defeat in Iowa”
Friends of the Earth (FOE) reports that the Iowa State Legislature has ended its session without approving “Construction Work in Progress” (CWIP), a gimmick by which nuclear utilities can charge ratepayers on their electricity bill for the construction of atomic reactors, even if they never recieve one watt of electricity from their involuntary “investment.” The victory is thanks to the efforts of an environmental coalition, including FOE as well as grassroots groups such as Green State Solutions. More…

FOE story here.

EON Team Members on Radio:
Evidence of Harm – EON Team Members Mary Beth Brangan and James Heddle on Your Own Health and Fittness Radio [We talked about the obvious ‘double-jeopardy’ connection between (1) a national wireless energy grid vulnerable to hacking and blackouts and  (2) a national fleet of 104 nuclear power reactors dependent on outside power from the grid to keep their overcrowded intensely irradiated fuel pools cooled. Duh.]

‘Filmmakers Mary Beth Brangan and James Heddle from Ecological Options Network discuss what they’ve learned documenting the SmartMeter opt-out proceedings, the wireless summit in Washington DC, and a strategy summit designed to push environmental organizations to commit to resistance against nuclear energy.’

A control room plan of nuclear fuel rods at the former Rheinsberg nuclear power plant in Germany, which is being dismantled at a cost of €560. (Photograph: Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

Published on Wednesday, May 23, 2012 by The Guardian/UK
Busting the Carbon and Cost Myths of Germany’s Nuclear Exit
Critics of the atomic phase-out said energy emissions, costs and imports would all rise. They were wrong

by Damian Carrington
With the UK taking another step towards supporting new nuclear power on Tuesday – at either no extra cost to the consumer if you believe ministers, or substantial cost if you believe most others – it’s worth taking a look at what actually happens when you phase out nuclear power in a large, industrial nation.

That is what Germany chose to do after the Fukushima nuclear disaster, closing eight plants immediately – 7GW – and another nine by 2022. The shrillest critics predicted blackouts, which was always daft and did not happen. More

Published on Thursday, May 24, 2012 by RT
Fukushima in the USA</strong>
Paul Gunter from Beyond Nuclear joins Thom Hartmann

Homeland Security Newswire – Probability of nuclear reactor core meltdown higher than expected
Published 23 May 2012
Currently, there are 440 nuclear reactors in operation, and sixty more are planned; new research finds that reactor accidents involving a core meltdown, as were the Chernobyl and Fukushima, may occur once every ten to twenty years — some 200 times more often than estimated in the past; the authors of the study note that they did not take into account potential contributing factors to accidents such as the age and type of reactors, or whether reactors are located in regions of enhanced risks such as earthquakes

Catastrophic nuclear accidents such as the core meltdowns in Chernobyl and Fukushima are more likely to happen than previously assumed. Based on the operating hours of all civil nuclear reactors and the number of nuclear meltdowns that have occurred, scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Chemistry in Mainz have calculated that such events may occur once every ten to twenty years (based on the current number of reactors) — some 200 times more often than estimated in the past.[emphasis added.] More

San Onofre: Bad Vibrations
Arnie Gundersen reports for FOE

Arnie Gundersen on San Onofre

Published on Apr 26, 2012 by KPBSSanDiego
Arnie Gundersen, a nuclear energy consultant, talks to KPBS about the San Onofre Nuclear Generating System.

NRC head: San Onofre could prompt review of safety rules
Written by Morgan Lee U-T San Diego

Generator problems that have sidelined the San Onofre nuclear plant may point to weakness in safety regulations, the chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission said Wednesday.

At a news conference in Charlotte, N.C., Chairman Gregory Jaczko said root causes and a solution to steam generator deterioration at the sidelined San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station still have not been identified by plant operator Southern California Edison.

The dual-reactor plant, which supplies 20 percent of San Diego County’s power, has been offline since January as investigators look to alleviate rapid wear on steam generator tubes that are rubbing against supports and each other. The nuclear commission is looking into the approval of design changes to the recently replaced generators and whether Edison sidestepped a more lengthy review.
Jaczko said some at the agency are contending design issues would have been caught by with a higher-threshold review.

“If they (Edison) did it consistent with our regulations,” he said, “then we need to think about changing our regulations.”

Jaczko, who offered his resignation this week conditioned on the confirmation of a replacement, said the onus still is on Edison to identify what has gone wrong at the plant and submit a plan for resolving those problems. Regulators must approve any restart plan.

“We’re still waiting on that,” he said. “We don’t have a time-certain on that.”

Obama Nominates Replacement for NRC’s Jaczko

Thursday, 24 May 2012 05:40 PM
President Barack Obama is nominating Allison Macfarlane, a professor and member of panel studying disposal of atomic wastes, to be head the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, replacing Chairman Gregory Jaczko, who is quitting.

Macfarlane, an associate professor of environmental science and policy at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia, received a doctorate in geology from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Read more

US gov’t map shows radioactive particles took direct route to Tokyo after Reactor No. 3 exploded

Edison’s San Onofre plan could make things worse, consultant says [Updated]

May 15, 2012
A consultant who has criticized Southern California Edison’s handling of the troubled San Onofre nuclear plant issued a report Tuesday saying the utility’s proposed solution for bringing the plant back online could make the issues worse.

The plant has been offline more than three months because of excessive wear in steam generator tubes that carry radioactive water. The wear appears to be occurring when the plant is running at full power and the rate of steam flows causes the tubes to vibrate and rub against each other and against support structures, Edison officials have said.

Anti-nuclear protesters gather outside Shinjuku station, Tokyo. Photograph: Getty Images

Anxious Japan prepares for life without nuclear power
Japan has 54 nuclear reactors, but as of Saturday, not one of them will be in operation – how will the country cope?
Justin McCurry in Tokyo
May 3, 2012
This weekend Japan will begin a bold experiment in energy use that no one had thought possible – until the Fukushima Daiichi power plant suffered a triple meltdown just over a year ago.

On Saturday, when the Hokkaido electric power company shuts down the No3 reactor at its Tomari plant for maintenance, the world’s third-largest economy will be without a single working nuclear reactor for the first time for almost 50 years. More

S. Korea begins construction of 2 nuke reactors
By AKIRA NAKANO/ Correspondent May 05, 2012
The Asahi Shimbun

ULJIN, South Korea–South Korea has begun construction of two reactors in a nuclear plant facing the Sea of Japan.
It is the first nuclear project undertaken by South Korea since the nuclear disaster in Japan last year.
President Lee Myung-bak emphasized the need for nuclear power in resource-poor South Korea during the groundbreaking ceremony at the Ulchin nuclear plant in Uljin on May 4.

“Building a nuclear power plant is not a choice, but a necessity to South Korea, which has no single oil reserve,” the presidential office quoted Lee as saying at the event.

Nagoya mayor protests government moves to restart Oi reactors
Japan Times
Tuesday, May 8, 2012
The mayor of Nagoya lashed out at the government Monday for pushing to get two offline reactors restarted at the Oi nuclear plant 120 km west in Fukui Prefecture, saying a major accident at the complex could contaminate the Kiso River, which provides water to people of his city.

Mayor Takashi Kawamura told reporters, “I lodged a serious protest” over the push to restart the Oi reactors, during a meeting with vice industry minister Yasuhiro Nakane in Tokyo, arguing that there has yet to be completed a thorough verification on what caused the triple-meltdown crisis at the Fukushima No. 1 power plant.

Bodies On The Line - Protestors blockade a truck carrying radioactive debris to their town. photo: SOURCE: @asat8

Oi Protests
Film shows ‘enraged Japanese public about to explode at its leaders’ — In the News: Residents block radioactive debris delivery — Only 2 towns support restart of Oi nuke plant, ‘acceptance’ has failed — Actor says help from outside country is needed (VIDEO & PHOTO)

Greenpeace activists and local people greet the Japanese Economy, Trade and Industry Minister Yukio Edano outside the Fukui Prefecture Government offices with songs and banners reading: “EDA NO” (no nuclear). The activists are protesting against the Government’s push to bring two reactors at the Oi Nuclear Power Plant back online – against public opinion and the recommendations of numerous experts. © Jeremy Sutton-Hibbert / Greenpeace

To help keep EON’s work going, please check out all the support options on our Donation Page or you can also send a check made out to EON to EON, POB 1047, Bolinas, CA

Opt-Out Proceeding Phase 2 Begins – Pre-Hearing Conference

Presiding CPUC Administrative Law Judge Amy Yip-Kikugawa is flanked by (left) Carol Brown, President Peevey's Chief of Staff, and Marzia Zafar, Manager of the CPUC Business and Community Outreach Group

Community-Wide Opt-Out and Costs at Issue This Round
Phase 2 of the CPUC’s ‘Smart Meter’ Opt-Out Proceeding got underway Wednesday, May 16, as Administrative Law Judge Amy Yip-Kikugawa presided cordially over the pre-hearing conference of utility and intervening parties’ representatives. Originally limited to the PG&E service area, the proceeding has now been consolidated to include Southern California Edison and San Diego Gas and Electric as well – a victory of sorts for advocates of a ‘wired’ approach to energy grid design which some are calling the ‘Wise Grid’ option.

Full disclosure – EON continues to be an official ‘intervening party’ in Phase 2 of the Proceeding along with the EMFSafety Network, Aglet, Alameda County Residents Against Smart Meters, Wilner Associates, the County of Marin, the City of Fairfax, the Alliance for Human and Environmental Health and the Southern California-based Center for ElectroSmog Protection and others.

From the two-hour discussion it was clear that PG&E will be focused on getting the cost issue settled ASAP, while Southern California Edison wants more time to analyze the cost data, and the interveners will be advocating for (a) defining ‘community-wide opt-out’ to include multiple dwelling units as well as municipal and county jurisdictions (of which over 50 have acted in favor of the concept); and (b) making sure that the scope of Phase 2 includes consideration of the main reasons that masses of ratepayers and citizens are demanding an opt-out in the first place – namely, the widely documented safety, privacy, hackability, national security, human health and environmental risks posed by wireless grid designs for energy, gas and water systems.

Interveners in the Proceeding listen to PG&E lawyer Chris Warner. From left: David Wilner, Wilner Associates; Sandi Maurer, EMFSafety Network: James Weil, Aglet; James Toben, County of Marin; Mary Beth Brangan, EON; Martin Homec, Center for ElectroSmog Protection.

Scoping for a Wise, Wired Grid
Judge Yip-Kikugawa will shortly rule on the scope of Phase 2. Advocates of the wireless ‘smart grid’ concept and advocates of the wired ‘wise grid’ design seem to agree on the goal of meeting the challenges of our era through informed consumer choice, energy conservation, efficiency and modernized grid design. Let us hope Her Honor will find a way of bringing these two potentially compatible constituencies together inside an adequate scopt to agree on a united, rational, science-based approach.

The following clips are unedited, interrupted only by a tape change.

‘Smart Meter’ Opt-Out Proceeding – Phase 2, Pt. 1

‘Smart Meter’ Opt-Out Proceeding – Phase 2, Pt. 2

To help keep EON’s work going, please check out all the support options on our Donation Page or you can also send a check made out to EON to EON, POB 1047, Bolinas, CA

PULLING THE PLUG ON 'SMART METERS' – Some Recent Developments

Boneheaded Boondoggle Bogs Down
Despite its ‘smartiness’ logo, the wireless ‘AMI’ metering rollout for electricity, gas and water utilities bids fair to go down as one of the stupidest corporate/government mis-steps since nuclear power, the repeal of Glass–Steagall and a casino economy based on the trading of toxic ‘derivatives.’ Like ‘truthiness’ and ‘hedginess,’ ‘smartiness’ just doesn’t cut it in the Real World.

Irate ratepayers around the country and around the world are waking up and pushing back, whilst the industry pundit/morons and regulatory revolving-door stooges scratch their heads in consternation and bemused bewilderment. How do these guys manage to hold their jobs? (Just a rhetorical question.)

[ Here’s what we filed today as ‘parties’ in Phase 2 of the CPUC Opt-Out Proceeding in support of a Motion to Stay filed by attorneys for the County of Marin, Fairfax and the Alliance for Human and Environment Health. PDF here. ]

This edition surveys some – but not all – of burgeoning recent smeter developments. Stay tuned for more on this issue. Plus our upcoming reports from last week’s Nuclear Safety Summit in Washington. DC.

First, here’s our coverage of yesterday’s ratepayer protest against ‘smart’ meter opt out fees in front of stockholders walking into PG&E’s stockholders’ annual meeting in San Francisco. Scroll down for more…

Irate Ratepayers at PG&E Stockholders Meeting

Angry ratepayers demonstrated at the entrance to a PG&E stockholders meeting May 14, 2012 in San Francisco. Signs, chants and speakers laid out their objections to the wireless ‘smart meter’ rollout and the fees proposed for opting out. Activists delivered over 3000 petitions expressing outrage at the fees.

Protesters demand end to SmartMeter opt-out fees
Michael Finney

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) — PG&E’s shareholders meeting took place in San Francisco Monday. Protestors were there too, armed with petitions opposed to the utility’s practice of charging customers to opt out of its SmartMeter program.
They came, they shouted and they delivered nearly 3,000 signatures. But they left wondering if their actions will change anything…. Read more.

California Looks Harder at the ‘Smart Grid’ (CPUC’s Division of Ratepayer Advocates new analysis)
Article from 5/2/2012

“Regulators who don’t approve smart stuff are by elimination reducing themselves to certificators of dumb stuff. When nuclear optimism peaked, backers said that its power would be “too cheap to meter.” The bill for the smart grid is turning out to be too confusing to meter, but like in the nuclear heyday, the momentum is irresistible.”

From Josh Hart at
Pics and brief report from yesterday…

As PG&E shareholders and employees walked up to the firm’s headquarters at 77 Beale St. in San Francisco to attend the annual shareholders meeting yesterday, they were confronted by a raucous ratepayer revolt, with chants of “Our Health is NOT for Sale” and “We say NO FEE Charge the Utility.” Many entering were visibly uncomfortable. Voge Smith, a Novato resident whose petition demanding a halt to opt out fees has generated nearly 3000 signatures- spoke of widespread health problems from smart meters, and was allowed inside the building with ABC 7 On Your Side reporters, who aired this report.

Thank you to all who attended the protest and joined the growing call for an end to extortionate and punitive opt out fees (and an end to the smart grid!). If you couldn’t attend the protest but still want to contribute, please consider a donation to help us keep fighting smart meters.
Media links:

Horrible Opinion from the Marin IJ

Dorman- sm’s not mandatory

Vt. utilities see growing ‘smart meter’ opposition

MONTPELIER, Vt. — Worries about health effects, privacy and cost are fueling growing opposition to wireless, digital “smart meters” that utilities around the country are installing at homes and businesses and touting as key energy conservation and grid reliability tools.

Vermont appears poised to take an unusually aggressive stance. While several states have allowed utilities to charge a fee to customers who want to opt out of smart meters, Vermont’s governor is expected soon to sign legislation that would allow customers to say no without paying anything extra, at least until more studies are completed on the real costs of not deploying the meters.

“They’re the ones who came up with this,” Sen. Robert Hartwell, D-Bennington and a leading supporter of the free opt-out, said in an interview. “The utilities didn’t really care what the ratepayers thought. So since they’re the ones who are trying to impose the new system, we think they’re the ones who should absorb the costs.”

When You Text Till You Drop
Published: May 12, 2012

I DON’T know about you, but I’ve always found the debate about what our mobile devices are doing to us — to our behaviors, our manners, our minds — at least as interesting as reports about what we’re doing with these devices.

CPUC Urged PG&E to Crack Down on SmartMeter Resisters
Posted on April 30, 2012 by onthelevelblog

Marzia Zafar of the CPUC Urged PG&E to Crack Down on Customers Who Refuse Installation
Yesterday, we learned from the Chronicle that PG&E plans to disconnect residents who refuse to pay their extortionate opt out fees. No consultation with the public about our energy system, no hearings to get to the bottom of why tens of thousands of Californians have suffered (in some cases devastating) medical conditions when the smart meter was installed. No investigation into widespread reports of smart meter fires. No delay in the fees pending resolution of unresolved procedural issues. Just an arrogant ultimatum from one of the largest investor owned utilities in the country.

Shocking Way Electric Utilities Are Making Us Pay for the Smart Grid
By Rich Smith, The Motley Fool
Posted 5:45AM 05/15/12 Posted under: Energy, Consumer All

Are you ready for the smart electricity revolution?

On July 20, 2006, California’s Public Utilities Commission approved a proposal by Pacific Gas & Electric (PCG) to begin phasing out conventional electricity meters (those big gray boxes on the side of your house, with the dials that spin around) and replace them with “smart” meters.

Relaying data on electricity usage wirelessly and in real time, the devices should in theory help utilities such as PG&E charge consumers more when they use electricity at times of greatest demand. This would, for example, encourage users to dial back the A/C on hot summer days.

Conversely, consumers would get a break on their bills for smart electricity usage. You could pay lower rates for doing your dishes and drying your laundry overnight, and for charging your plug-in electric car at nonpeak hours as well.

It’s all part of a $29 billion, nationwide plan to make electricity usage smarter, by helping to build the “smart grid.”
And it’s failing because of greed. Specifically, the greed of electric utility companies such as PG&E.

Boardman: Smart grid initiative makes us all unwitting guinea pigs

If your state was installing a new technology that would impact virtually everyone, you might assume your state was acting based on the most complete and current science available to protect everyone’s health.
If your state was Vermont and it was intent on installing wireless technology in every home and business, you’d need to know that your state is acting based on very limited science, most of it more than 25 years out of date, with little concern for anyone’s health.

Making this a matter of growing public concern is the state-sanctioned installation of “SmartMeters” (trade name) that expose people to radiation that has unknown consequences, but is suspected of causing a variety of physical ailments, from sleep disturbance and headaches to brain damage and cancer.

To help keep EON’s work going, please check out all the support options on our Donation Page or you can also send a check made out to EON to EON, POB 1047, Bolinas, CA

Opt-Out Blues & Nuclear 'Salp-Absorption' – EON Blog 5-2-2012

Photo by Diablo Canyon Large numbers of salp started clogging the cooling water intake structure at Diablo Canyon on Monday night. In this photo, salps float among the kelp at the power plant. These salps are about 2 to 3 inches long. Read more here:

[ Editors’ note – Some of the EON Team will be in DC for the next week covering the Sierra Club No Nukes Activist Strategy Summit May 4, 2012 – May 7, 2012. Program PDF here. This will be the last blog post for a few days. Watch this space for a full report and videos ASAP. ]

CPUC Just Can’t Loose Those Irritatin’ Opt-Out Blues
“Pursuant to Rule 11.1 of the Commission’s Rules of Practice and Procedure, County of Marin, Town of Fairfax, California, and The Alliance For Human And Environmental Health (“Joint Movants”) request an immediate Commission ruling directing Pacific Gas and Electric Company (“PG&E”) to temporarily suspend further deployments of SmartMeters in the jurisdictions identified herein until resolution of the community opt-out issues designated for Phase 2 of this proceeding.”

That was the opening paragraph of a ‘motion to stay’ filed May 1, 2012 with the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC). Supported by strong statements from Marin County Board of Supervisors President Steve Kinsey and Fairfax Town Council Member Larry Bragman, the motion argues that, because of the confusion surrounding the so-called “smart meter” opt-out “deadline,” and the unresolved issues of community-wide opt-out options and costs justifications, PG&E customers would suffer irreparable harm if deployment of the wireless meters continues before these issues are resolved.

The initial ‘joint movants’ are hoping that other jurisdictions, parties and groups will sign on or file supportive motions to cover the whole state.

The CPUC’s own Division of Ratepayer Advocates points out in a recent study – Case Study of Smart Meter System Deployment Report – that the purported energy and cost savings being claimed for the ‘smart meter’ deployment are unlikely to materialize based on data collected so-far.

An EMF ALEC on Steroids?
Strong and growing public opposition to ‘smart meter’ deployment in California and, indeed, around the country and around the world has the ‘smart grid’ advocates and technocrats scratching their heads. Apparently there are many parts of the word ‘NO’ these suits just can’t understand.

Two organizations – Global Smart Grid Federation and the International Smart Grid Action Network (ISGAN) – have been formed to help ‘educate’ reluctant consumers and overcome such ‘barriers’ to the plan as democratic choice. A recent Federation report was prepared for the Global Smart Grid Federation (GSGF) by SmartGrid Canada.

The Federation has active chapters in many countries including Australia, Canada, Europe, Great Britain, Ireland, Japan, Korea and the US. Their job is to help utilities avoid being “overly technocratic” in their approach.

According to ISGAN, “Smart grid represents a novel convergence of several different groups of technologies—traditional power sector transmission and distribution technologies, information and communication technologies, advanced power electronics and control devices, sensing and monitoring equipment, and cybersecurity systems—as well as the operational practices that integrate these technologies into unified systems. ISGAN’s purpose is to help countries accelerate progress to their national-level smart grid goals and to facilitate their adoption of more ambitious targets.” Read more here. And here.

Launching of the International Smart Grid Action Network at the Clean Energy Ministerial in 2010 in Washington D.C.

An internationally coordinated campaign to influence national policies on energy and communications? You don’t have to be a ‘conspiracy theorist’ to imagine a cabal of besuited technocrats aiming to control the global ‘smart grid’ from a cave in Davos. That’s what the ‘motion to stay’ is all about folks. Rolling back the Global Bonehead Grid roll-out.

Scroll down for links to posts on this and other opt-out developments.

Elsewhere in the Nuclear News

Nuclear ‘Salp-Absorption’ at Diablo
Nukefree activists were having a brief experience of ‘salp esteem’ after the jellyfish-like sea creatures clogged Diablo Canyon nuclear reactor’s plumbing forcing a shutdown for several days. The reactor has now been restarted.

The San Onofre nuke remains shut down because of serious faults in its steam generator design. It was the scene of well-attended demonstrations this past weekend. Video reports from Ace Hoffman below with Dan Hirsch, Larry Agran and NRC Chairman Gregory Jaczko are below. Also, Mothers for Peace demands the NRC include results of post-fukushima earthquake study before considering diablo canyon license renewal application. Global Research TV reports on ‘Nuclear “Security” and Nuclear Hypocrisy,’ and ‘Radiation, Coverups and the Legacy of Fukushima.’ Linda Gunther debunks the Washington Post Fukushima reporting. Arnie Gundersen jousts with SoCal Edison.

That and more follows. Scroll on down…

Opt-Out News

PG&E’s Opt Out Fees Mired in Dispute and Procedural Flaws
Josh Hart –
Happy May Day everyone. Get away from your computer and get out in
the streets- it’s a beautiful day, at least in Northern California!
Revolutionary spirit (and tear gas) is in the air. Apart from a
historical day to celebrate and defend workers rights, May 1st also
happens to be the “deadline” for signing up for PG&E’s opt out
program. Yet it’s not really a deadline. You can opt in or out at
any time according to PG&E. And lacking justification for charging
the fees or forcing a smart meter, our domineering monopoly utility is
left with empty threats, legal ambiguities, and cheap intimidation
tactics to force their unwanted meters.

Let’s take a look at where this issue stands as of today: Read more

County of Marin, Fairfax seek to stop PG&E from installing more SmartMeters
By Richard Halstead
Marin Independent Journal

The county of Marin and the town of Fairfax are asking the California Public Utilities Commission to temporarily halt further installation of SmartMeters in their communities.
In a motion filed Monday with the commission, the two Marin County jurisdictions argue that Pacific Gas and Electric Co. should not install any more of the digital meters until the commission rules on whether entire communities can opt out en masse and whether the amount customers are being charged to opt out is fair. Read more.

SmartMeter opt-out deadline is May 1

David R. Baker
Sunday, April 29, 2012

In or out?
Pacific Gas and Electric Co. has asked customers who want to opt out of the utility’s controversial SmartMeter program to notify the company by Tuesday. That’s three months to the day since California regulators gave PG&E customers the choice of rejecting the wireless electricity and gas meters, which critics consider a threat to their privacy and health.
May 1 isn’t a firm deadline. Read more.[/caption]

S.F. upgrading city water meters with Wi-Fi device
David R. Baker

Sunday, April 29, 2012
San Francisco has been a hotbed of opposition to Pacific Gas and Electric Co.’s SmartMeters.
So why haven’t the city’s wireless water meters caused much of a stir?
Since 2010, the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, which provides water service to city residents, has been quietly upgrading its meters with technology similar to that used by PG&E. The new water meters have a transmitter attached that relays their data automatically, over a wireless network – much like PG&E’s.
To date, the city has installed 81,000 of the new meters – replacing almost half of the water meters in San Francisco. About 95 people have objected, said Steve Ritchie, the commission’s assistant general manager for water. Of those, the commission has been able to convince 18 that the meters are safe and accurate.
The rest still have their older meters. The commission may create an opt-out plan for them but hasn’t done so yet.
“We’ve basically put them in a parking lot,” Ritchie said. “We want to talk to each one individually, understand their issues.” Read more.

Read more:

Diablo Canyon knocked offline, powerless against tiny jellyfish-like creature
Sea creatures are out in force, clogging the nuclear power plant’s intake screens

Global federation pushes for education by national governments
May 1, 2012 –

Winning consumer support is the most difficult challenge to building the smart grid, according to “Global Smart Grid Federation report,” a free document the organization publicized last week. National governments are best positioned to educate consumers about grid modernization and can be effective mediators between consumers and utilities, it said.
Power pricing – and thus the strength of motivation – varies widely among member nations, from 8.3¢/KWH in Korea to 23.3¢/KWH in Ireland, the report said. Modernization projects “in their infancy now exist” in most member nations, it said.
“Not properly and adequately communicating the anticipated benefits of a project to stakeholders was cited as a reason for the unpopularity of the Boulder, Colo, Smart Grid City project,” the report said. Some utilities “risk being overly technocratic” in their approaches to a project, undervaluing the consumer, it said. That approach led to “poor consumer responses to smart metering trials in Australia and Europe,” it said.
Individual chapters were devoted to modernization efforts in several member nations or regions, including Australia, Canada, Europe, Great Britain, Ireland, Japan, Korea and the US. They summarized the incentives, regulatory environment and challenges facing each nation or region.
In Australia, smart meters “have become a controversial political issue,” though AMI rollouts are under way, the report said.
Popular reaction to Canada’s efforts has been “mixed,” the report said, with groups protesting smart meters based on privacy and health concerns.
In the US, “for utilities that articulated the benefits of smart metering, the consumer reaction has been positive. In other areas there has been major consumer pushback.” Read more.

“We won’t force smart meters to go on to any house or business at this time.”
KIUC board to consider smart meter opt-out plan
Vanessa Van Voorhis – The Garden Island The Garden Island | Posted: Tuesday, April 24,
Protestors of the Kaua‘i Island Utility Cooperative’s initiative to install smart meters take their message to Kapa‘a on Kuhio Highway fronting the Courtyard by Marriott at Coconut Beach where the KIUC Board met Tuesday afternoon to answer questions from the utility co-op’s members.
KAPA‘A — The Kaua‘i Island Utility Cooperative board is considering an opt-out program for members who do not want smart meters installed on their property, but meanwhile will defer installation upon request, KIUC CEO David Bissell said Tuesday.
“The board is saying we’ll allow the members a choice,” Bissell said at a board meeting held at Courtyard by Marriott at Coconut Beach in Kapa‘a. “We won’t force smart meters to go on to any house or business at this time.”
The board sometimes meets away from its office in Lihu‘e as part of its community outreach strategy. Read more.

Nuclear Loan Guarantees – Bad Investment or Corporate Handout?
By Dennis Kucinich, Beyond Nuclear
30 April 12

Nuke reactor restarted after creatures clog intake The Associated Press

SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif.—The Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant has restarted its Unit 2 reactor six days after the California central coast plant was shut down because jellyfish-like creatures clogged seawater intake screens.
Pacific Gas & Electric spokesman Tom Cuddy says the Unit 2 reactor was safely returned to full power on Monday.
Southerly winds began blowing salps into the plant’s cooling water intake cove early last week. Salps are small barrel-shaped plankton tunicates similar to jellyfish.
Unit 2 was shut down on April 26 because salps clogged rolling screens at the San Luis Obispo County plant’s beach intake structure.
The Unit 1 reactor had been shut down earlier in April for scheduled refueling.
The twin-reactor PG&E plant generates enough power for more than 3 million homes in Central and Northern California.

Nuclear “Security” and Nuclear Hypocrisy
by grtv

As the so-called “international community” once again meets to mouth political platitudes about stopping nuclear proliferation, many are now pointing to the numerous pieces of evidence demonstrating that, contrary to their official position, these very governments are invested in the proliferation of nuclear materials and nuclear weapons around the globe.
This is the Global Research backgrounder from

Radiation, Coverups and the Legacy of Fukushima
by grtv

One year on from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster in Japan’s northeast, details continue to emerge about how the crisis was much worse than the government and TEPCO originally let on.
Joining us to discuss the legacy of Fukushima is Helen Caldicott, a physician, author and radio host who has spoken out for decades about the deadly effects of nuclear radiation.

Why the Washington Post’s Description of the Nuclear Disaster as “non-catastrophic” is both Callous and Erroneous Trivializing Fukushima

On April 23, 2012, the editorial board of the Washington Post proclaimed that the Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan was “non-catastrophic.” The writers eagerly promoted nuclear power while omitting inconvenient deal-breakers such as cost, waste, safety, health risks and human rights. The board taunted Germany and Japan – and the anti-nuclear movement – for looking to renewables but misrepresented Germany’s successes. They showed a shocking disregard for the suffering in Japan due to a very real catastrophe that is by no means over. And they utterly ignored those who have already paid the price for the nuclear fuel chain, like indigenous uranium miners, and its newest victims, the children of Japan whose future has been stolen.
The following rebuttal can also be found, with more detail, on theBeyond Nuclear website.
Washington Post (WP): Nuclear “is the only proven source of low-emissions ‘baseload’ power.”
FACT: Renewable technologies can and do deliver baseload power. In many regions, peak wind and solar production match up well with peak electricity demand. Numerous case studies, including by theIntergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, predict that 80%-100% of the world’s energy supply could be met by renewables by mid-century.
WP: Germany and Japan are “giving up all of that guaranteed, low-carbon electricity generation in an anti-nuclear frenzy.”
FACT: Nuclear energy is “guaranteed” only as long as the electrical grid is reliable and when natural disaster struck in Japan, nuclear energy wasn’t so “guaranteed” but instead worsened the crisis. In Germany, renewable energy is revitalizing home-grown industries like steel and more people there work in the renewable sector (370,000 and growing) than in the nuclear (30,000) and coal industries (20,000) combined. No “frenzy” necessary. Read more.

Dan Hirsch April 29 2012 SanO Rally
Ace Hoffman

Irvine City Councilmember Larry Agran April 29 2012 SanO Rally
Ace Hoffman

Jaczko Press Conference April 6th, 2012 Dana Point, California
Ace Hoffman

May 1, 2012
San Luis Obispo Mothers for Peace
P.O. Box 3608
San Luis Obispo, CA 93403
For Immediate Release Contacts: Jane Swanson
April 30, 2012
(805) 595-2605
cell (805) 440-1359
June Cochran
(805) 773-2847

On April 27, San Luis Obispo Mothers for Peace (SLOMFP) took action to ensure that the NRC’s consideration of Pacific Gas and Electric Company’s (PG&E’s) application for renewal of the Diablo Canyon operating license will include post-Fukushima accident risks and measures for protecting against them. SLOMFP asserts that PG&E’s environmental report for renewal of the reactor license should discuss the results of a new seismic study to be conducted in the next three years. MFP also argued that the environmental report must present a range of alternatives for meeting new post-Fukushima safety requirements.

Dartmouth Scientists Track Radioactive Iodine from Japan’s Nuclear Meltdown

Radioactive iodine found by Dartmouth researchers in the local New Hampshire environment is a direct consequence of a nuclear reactor’s explosion and meltdown half a world away, says Joshua Landis, a research associate in the Department of Earth Sciences.

The failure of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power facility, following the March 11, 2011, earthquake and tsunami, was the largest nuclear disaster since 1986 at Chernobyl. “We live on a really small planet and this demonstrates that what happens in Japan has the potential to affect us,” says Landis. Read more.

Analyst, Edison debate plant fix
Fred Swegles Register Writer

A nuclear consultant for the environmental group Friends of the Earth says defective new steam generators at the shut-down San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station near San Clemente cannot be fixed and need to be replaced.
“They need to order new ones and go back to Mitsubishi and force them to come up with new steam generators and eat the cost,” Arnie Gundersen of Fairewinds Energy Education said during a visit to the Surfrider Foundation in San Clemente this week.
Read more.

Libbe HaLevy interviews Arnie Gundersen

Libbe HaLevy, M.A., CAC
Communications and Creativity Expert
Heartistry Communications

Rescue Moms and Children from Fukushima petition: English – 福島の妊婦や子どもを避難してもらうための署名を集めるプロジェクト


A close call: Why the jury is still out on mobile phones
Is a rise in brain tumours linked to the radiation sources we hold so close to our heads? Experts can’t agree on the answer

How Industry Suppresses – and Government Denies – the Overwhelming Evidence of Harm
by Helke Ferrie

(Ed note: This is the first of a 2-part series on Electropollution. The second part, to run in April Vitality, will focus on solutions.)

If something is invented by and for the military, it is certain to be effective and lethal. And industrial capitalists invariably view such military gizmos as having great profit potential – particularly if they’re re-packaged and promoted as beneficial to the public. Hence, the science behind atom bombs dropped on Japan in World War II led soon after to cancer radiation therapy and mammography – two of the most lucrative practices in modern medicine. Similarly, biological warfare weapons such as DDT and chemotherapy proved to be enormously lucrative in their peace-time applications – their deadly properties being undiminished despite re-packaging. Originally, the military objected to the declassification of both, but industry interests prevailed. Read more. Inc. Internet Provider CEO: “I Hate Wireless.”

* Inc, CEO Dane Jasper writes, on his blog:

“Wireless is magic. You point two antennas at each other over a span of miles, and broadband comes out the other end. Most of the time.
I hate wireless.
Today, we sold our wireless network.” Read more.

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