Monthly Archives: May 2013

CPUC Bans Video of San Onofre Hearings

Action Alert

CPUC Blocks Video Coverage of San Onofre Hearings
What do they want to hide from the public?

Next week, May 13-17, 2013, The California Public Utilities Commission, located in San Francisco, California, is holding evidentiary hearings in the investigation of Southern California Edison (SCE) and San Diego Gas and Electric associated with the San Onofre nuclear generating station units 2 and 3 in Southern California. SCE is pushing to restart San Onofre unit 2 without fixing the steam generator problems that made an emergency shut down necessary in January of 2012.

This proceeding represents a microcosm of the issues surrounding the rickety, unsafe conditions of the U.S. fleet of 104 aging reactors. It is of vital interest not only to California residents, but to people across the country and around the world who would be affected by a release of radiation from San Onofre, located in a tsunami zone amid multiple earthquake faults.

Womens Energy Matters (WEM) and Ecological Options Network (EON) believe video taping this important hearing should be allowed and that the entire proceeding should be webcast/video-streamed on the internet by the CPUC to ensure maximum public awareness of the issues involved. This is particularly necessary because this important hearing vitally impacts the 8.5 million plus people in the San Diego and Los Angeles areas who live 450 miles from where the hearings are taking place making their attendance extremely difficult.

At least two webcasts of evidentiary hearings have established webcasting precedent at the CPUC – the General Rate Case and the Sunrise Powerlink proceeding. California’s Bagley-Keene Open Meetings Act provides for such public videotaping.

EON in collaboration with WEM, who is a party to the proceedings, issued a courtesy notice to Commissioner Florio and the Adjudicatory Law Judges Dudney and Darling regarding the intention to videotape. WEM has filed a motion to that effect.
[See attached PDF ].

As of Fri. May 10, the motion has been denied by Administrative Law Judges Melanie Darling and Kevin Dudney. In their ruling, the ALJs assert that the hearing being open to the public and being transcribed provides sufficient transparency. (However, it is necessary to make special requests for transcriptions which cost $2 per page and take 2 – 4 weeks for delivery. CDs can be ordered for $20.) The ALJ’s claim of sufficient transparency from unwieldy and expensive transcripts casts a pall of non-transparency over the whole proceedings.

Please express your outrage at this ruling to the following:

ALJ Melanie Darling – md2@cpuc.ca.gov, ALJ Kevin Dudney – kevin.dudney@cpuc.ca.gov, Commissioner Michel Florio – mf1@cpuc.ca.gov

Dear Commissioner Florio, ALJ Darling and ALJ Dudney:

I support WEM’s Motion for the Commission to provide a webcast of the May 13-17, 2013 hearings in the San Onofre investigation (I1210013), and to allow videotaping, pursuant to the Bagley-Keene Open Meetings Act. I urge you to reverse your denial of this motion.

Thank you,

[your name & city]

Congressman Henry Waxman on San Onofre Shutdown

San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station is build in an earthquake and tsunami zone, right next to the main north/south freeway between Los Angles and San Diego, 8.5 million people in the evacuation zone, in the middle of Camp Pendleton, a strategically vital U.S. military base. What could possibly go wrong?

Public Risks v. Corporate Profits
California U.S. Congressman Henry Waxman responds to questions from Myla Reson and Roger Johnson about the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s (NRC) handling of Southern California Edison’s push to fasttrack the restart of one of San Onofre’s faulty reactors without fully assessing the major risks to the region’s 8.7 million residents a restart poses.

Thanks to Myla Reson for the following transcript:

My question: Southern California Edison is seeking permission from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to restart one o its badly damaged nuclear reactors in a matter of weeks.

As you know, the aging power plant is located on our fragile coastline in a tsunami zone riddled with earthquake faults.

A senior San Onofre engineer recently testified that the facility is not designed to withstand current earthquake risks.

What is wrong with a regulatory process that can result in restart two years before the Nuclear Regulatory Commission has completed it ongoing work of promulgating regulations based on from Fukushima tsunami and earthquake hazards?

Waxman: There’s nothing wrong with that and it’s exactly what we ought to insist on. We want a full review of the lessons learned from Fukushima. That San Onofre power plant – one of the power plants there was fairly new – I don’t remember exact details but it wasn’t that old and yet it wasn’t operating appropriately.

And when the head of the NRC testified before our committee, I asked, “why didn’t you know about it? How did this happen without the NRC reviewing it?”

And they said they’re aware of it now and they pledged to us that they’re not going to allow San Onofre to start those power plants again – any of them until they’ve done a complete and thorough review.

It’s not going to be a matter of weeks. It may not happen at all.

But as a result of that I wrote a letter along with the other Democrats on the Energy and Commerce Committee to the Cal ISO [California Independent System Operator] to tell them that they ought to be sure that we’re ready for the summer. Because if we don’t have the electricity from San Onofre and I don’t expect we will better make sure we have the ISO looking at the grid so that we don’t have energy black outs.

My follow up: Congressman I was told by the NRC that they will not wait [to complete] their analysis of tsunami and seismic risks before they make their decision on restart. They’re two years away from [fully] analyzing [those risks] and promulgating those regulations – and they said they will not wait those two years. They’re going to base [restart] on answers to a confirmatory action letter and [Edison’s restart plan] and [restart] can happen in a matter of weeks according to a recent NRC public meeting that I witnessed and asked questions at.

Waxman: I appreciate that clarification. I don’t know that it’s tied to their review of lessons learned from Fukushima. But they are going to have to come in and show us that based on all the science and inspections and all the bells and whistles that we need for protection that they’re not going to let the nuclear power plant reopen. And we’ll call them before the committee and find out if they’re going to make a decision without fully vetting all the concerns that they out to be looking at.

Cara Robin reads Roger Johnson’s question:

“Why is the NRC allowed to list radiation as a privileged pollutant? It is a known carcinogen, and the allowable limits for radiation are hundreds of times higher than for other carcinogens. Why do you allow the NRC to establish a standard for low level radiation called “whatever is reasonably achievable.” Why is the NRC allowed to specifypermissible standards rather than safe standards? Why does the NRC and the nuclear industry run roughshod over the US Congress and particularly the Energy and Environment Committee?

Waxman: Let me hold on to this question because I don’t want to give you an answer when I don’t know the answer. So I’m going to find out more about it and see what the NRC has to say about it.

Produced by EON in cooperation with Womens Energy Matters (WEM).

For more information: SanOnofreSafety.org eon3EMFblog.net FOE.org WomensEnergyMatters.org

===========
If you like our work, you can support it, whatever your budget level, here.

BYE BYE BECQUERELS – FFAN.us Conference Call Series – Audio


Join the Campaign to Monitor Nuclear Contamination in What We’re Eating
EON’s Mary Beth Brangan moderates this edition of the Fukushima Fallout Awareness Network’s (FFAN.us) conference call series, BYE BYE BECQUERELS: No Radioactive Waste in Our Food.

In this segment of the on-going conference call series, Mary Beth, Cindy Folkers of BeyondNuclear.org and Kimberly Roberson, founder/director of FFAN, explain the campaign to set clear radioactive food contamination limit standards, and for independent monitoring of continuing U.S. food contamination from the on-going spread of Fukushima fallout around the world – not to mention ‘routine releases’ from America’s own 104 nuclear power plants.

===========
If you like our work, you can support it, whatever your budget level, here.

What's At Risk from San Onofre – Torgen Johnson

Urban planner Torgen Johnson and his family live near the San Onofre nuclear plant. A restart of the damaged facility would threaten their safety.

Video # 7 in the SHUTDOWN: The Case Against San Onofre: ‘Preview Interview’ series produced by EON in co-operation with WomensEnergyMatters.org. Plus an update from Myla Reson on NRC’s current timeline re San Onofre.

The High Risks of Restart
Urban Planner and father of three talks about the potentially devastating effect a nuclear accident at the San Onofre nuclear reactors would have on the ‘built environment,’ the real estate, industry, agriculture and infrastructure of Southern California…not to mention his family and millions of others in the evacuation zone.

I just spoke with NRC public affairs guy Victor Dricks

Dricks says:

1) The NRC will not take any action on Edison’s License Amendment application prior to June 17 – and that restart would not occur prior to the NRC’s decision on the License Amendment.

2) The next public meeting in Southern California will be for the purpose of discussing the results of the Confirmatory Action Letter (CAL) inspection – and the results of the technical evaluation of Edison’s restart pllan. The decision on restart WILL NOT be discussed or announced at the next public meeting in SoCal.

3) The NRC expects the meeting to take place sometime in mid-June – they will give the public as much prior notice as possible

I asked how much prior notice they’re required to provide – he said 14 days – but they’ve been having much difficulty finding a venue large enough to accomodate 1,000 people – he said they may be force to have the meeting in Irvine or San Diego. if they find a large enough venue they may be forced due to circumstances to shorten the 14 day notice requirement.

Myla Reson
Follow me on Twitter
What Part of Fukushima Do You NOT Understand?
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
“A common denominator, in every single nuclear accident — a nuclear plant or on a nuclear submarine — is that before the specialists even know what has happened, they rush to the media saying, ‘There’s no danger to the public.’ They do this before they themselves know what has happened because they are terrified that the public might react violently, either by panic or by revolt.” ~ Jacque Cousteau, 1989

===========
If you like our work, you can support it, whatever your budget level, here.