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Bradwell B nuclear project – a risk to UK’s national security?

Is Bradwell B a risk to nationalsecurity?    Blackwater Against New Nuclear Group  (BANNG)21 March 2019

Andy Blowers considers whether the ‘golden relationship’ with China might be a Trojan Horse in the BANNG Column for Regional Life March 2019.  The state visit of the Chinese President Xi Jinping, in October 2015 proclaimed the beginning of a ‘golden era’ in Sino-British relations. The deal was sealed with the promise that China would be offered the opportunity to construct a new nuclear power station at Bradwell with a state-owned company, CGN, using its own technology. In return the Chinese would provide the lion’s share (two-thirds) of investment in the project, with its partner the French state backed-company EDF finding the rest.

The jubilation of the Cameron Government turned to scepticism when his successor’s Joint Chief of Staff, Nick Timothy, declared, ‘The Government is selling our national security to China’. Fears that a critical part of sensitive infrastructure could be open to control by a potentially hostile power have continued to cloud the project. The fact that China, like the UK, is a military as well as civil nuclear power makes the issue of security and control especially worrying.

Bradwell B – a Trojan Horse?
Concerns about security threats are not without foundation. There is the broad charge that China plays by its own rules and the United States has long claimed that China has stolen American atomic secrets…….
Fears of Chinese infiltration in national security have led the United States to ban foreign ownership or control of nuclear power plants (see Box). No such injunction has been proclaimed in the UK; rather, at this very moment, the UK’s Office for Nuclear Regulation is deeply engaged in the process which may lead to approval for the Chinese Hualong One reactor design, thereby paving the way for overseas expansion of Chinese nuclear technology and the inevitable proliferation of security concerns. Bradwell B could be the Trojan Horse that leads into the heart of our national security  …..

nothing is said at all about what will be a deteriorating nuclear complex with stores of highly radioactive nuclear wastes strewn on a disappearing coast for the indefinite future. And will the Chinese still be around when the risks increase?

The Chinese are intent on accelerating the Bradwell B programme to begin construction before the end of the next decade. That is a tall order but they have the resources and apparent determination. But, the risks to national and local security and safety from a nuclear power station constructed and controlled by a foreign power cannot easily be allayed. Despite all the soothing words and promises of energy security, Bradwell B, if it materialises, may be a dangerous and unpredictable cuckoo in the nest.  https://www.banng.info/news/is-bradwell-b-a-risk-to-national-security/

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March 23, 2019 Posted by | politics international, safety, UK | Leave a comment

Dangers of nuclear weapons convoys travelling through Northampton

Northampton Chronicle 21st March 2019 , Campaigners have raised concerns about nuclear warheads travelling through
Northampton after a convoy passed an accident-prone stretch of motorway.
Nuclear warheads are regularly driven from Burghfield Atomic Weapons
Establishment (AWE) near Reading to Coulport, Scotland, for loading onto
the Trident missile submarines.

https://www.northamptonchron.co.uk/news/fears-raised-as-nuclear-warhead-convoy-passes-through-northampton-1-8859088

March 23, 2019 Posted by | safety, UK | Leave a comment

Nuclear transport trucks in the thick of gang gunfire in Brazil

Brazilian drug gang opens fire on convoy of trucks carrying nuclear fuel, Guardian Dom Phillips in Rio de Janeiro 20 Mar 2019 Latest incident raises concerns about Brazil’s nuclear security in a state struggling with violent crime A convoy of trucks carrying nuclear fuel came under armed attack on a highway in Rio de Janeiro state on Tuesday as it drove past a community controlled by a drug gang. Gang members armed with rifles opened fire on the convoy, Rio’s O Globo newspaper said.

Armed police escorting the convoy exchanged fire with armed gang members as the trucks carrying uranium continued to a nearby nuclear plant. The attack is the latest of several violent incidents in the area where Brazil has two nuclear reactors and has raised concerns about its nuclear security in a state struggling with high levels of violent crime.

The attack happened as the convoy passed the Frade community around noon near the tourist town of Angra dos Reis in the Green Coast (Costa Verde), around 200km from Rio de Janeiro. It reached the Angra 2 nuclear plant less than half an hour later, Brazil’s nuclear agency said……

Typically, such convoys have around five or six trucks and are escorted by regular police and motorbike outriders from Brazil’s Federal Highway police, the Eletronuclear spokesman Marco Antonio Alves told the Guardian. It was carrying uranium fuel to supply the Angra 2 nuclear power plant, which began operating in 2001. ……. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/mar/20/brazilian-drug-gang-opens-fire-on-convoy-of-trucks-carrying-nuclear-fuel?CMP=share_btn_fb&fbclid=IwAR3RPlZ7l2eqbDbUKOavFnccBnocR5AjCpeedTMeCQT7686-HKxuii8rfwE

Comment by  Raymond John Cockram I‘m figuring the probability that it was refined into fuel rods is closer to the truth given it was on its way to the reactor site, what you need to remember is that the Brazilian President is a self confessed fascist so media manipulation MUST be expected.

March 21, 2019 Posted by | Brazil, incidents | Leave a comment

EDF Energy extends outages at UK’s Hunterston B nuclear plant

Nina Chestney, Reuters LONDON (20 Mar 19,  – EDF Energy, owned by France’s EDF, has extended outages at two nuclear reactors at its Hunterston B plant in Scotland while it waits for Britain’s nuclear regulator to assess their safety cases.

  • Hunterston B-8 reactor is now expected to restart on April 30, a month later than previously forecast. Hunterston B-7 is scheduled to restart on June 29, compared with a previous date of April 30, according to EDF Energy’s website.
  • In March last year, the two reactors were taken offline to carry out inspections of the graphite core. These confirmed the presence of cracks and showed these were happening at a higher rate than modelled……… https://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-britain-nuclear-outages-idUKKCN1R01Q1

 

March 21, 2019 Posted by | safety, UK | Leave a comment

Are the UK’s cracked Hunterston nuclear reactors safe?

The Ferret 19th March 2019  Plans to restart two cracked and ageing reactors at Hunterston in north Ayrshire have again been delayed as operators struggle to convince regulators they are safe.

EDF Energy, the French company that runs Hunterston B nuclear power station, has postponed the restart date for reactor three by two months to 30 June 2019. The restart of reactor four has been postponed a month until 30 April 2019.

Some 370 major cracks have been found in the graphite core of reactor three, which has been closed down for more than a year since 9 March 2018. There are estimated to be around 200 similar cracks in reactor four, which was closed down on 2 October 2018.

The operational safety limit for cracks imposed by the UK government’s Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) is 350. EDF is now trying to convince ONR that reactors should be allowed to operate with up to 700 cracks.

The proposed restart dates for both reactors have been repeatedly delayed over the last six months. They started generating electricity in 1976 and were originally due to close in 2006 – but EDF wants to keep them going until at least 2023.

Critics, however, reiterated calls for the reactors to shut down permanently. “It really is time for EDF to admit that these stations are well past their sell-by date and need to close,” said nuclear consultant, Peter Roche. “They should start talking to the Scottish Government about providing alternative employment opportunities in Ayrshire, preferably by bringing forward decommissioning and dismantling and developing robot technology.”

Rita Holmes, chair of the Hunterston site stakeholder group chair, said that personally she had no doubt that ONR would take time to scrutinise EDF’s safety cases. “Some people find the delays reassuring because EDF is sparing no expense, leaving no stone unturned, consulting the experts in order to build a robust safety case,” she said.

“Some feel the opposite – if it takes EDF that long to provide a robust safety case then maybe there is something far wrong. The safety case might or might not satisfy the regulator……….
https://theferret.scot/cracked-reactors-force-further-delays-at-hunterston/ 

March 21, 2019 Posted by | safety, UK | Leave a comment

Nuclear industry pushes for weaker regulations:NRC Board dominated by Trump appointees

Nuclear industry pushing for fewer inspections at plants

The board of the agency charged with enforcing regulations on commercially operated nuclear plants is dominated by Trump appointees. NBC News, March 16, 2019,  By Associated Press

WASHINGTON — The nuclear power industry is pushing the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to cut back on inspections at nuclear power plants and throttle back what it tells the public about plant problems. The agency, whose board is dominated by Trump appointees, is listening.

Commission staffers are weighing some of the industry’s requests as part of a sweeping review of how the agency enforces regulations governing the country’s 98 commercially operating nuclear plants. Recommendations are due to the five-member NRC board in June.

Annie Caputo, a former nuclear-energy lobbyist now serving as one of four board members appointed or reappointed by President Donald Trump, told an industry meeting this week that she was “open to self-assessments” by nuclear plant operators, who are proposing that self-reporting by operators take the place of some NRC inspections. …….

the prospect of the Trump administration’s regulation-cutting mission reaching the NRC alarms some independent industry watchdogs, who say the words “nuclear safety” and “deregulation” don’t go together……..

“For an industry that is increasingly under financial decline … to take regulatory authority away from the NRC puts us on a collision course,” said Paul Gunter, of the anti-nuclear group Beyond Nuclear. With what? “With a nuclear accident,” Gunter said………..

Trump has said he wants to help both the coal and nuclear power industries. So far, it’s the more politically influential coal industry that’s gotten significant action on the regulatory rollbacks that it sought from the Environmental Protection Agency and other agencies.

In January, Trump appointees to the NRC disappointed environmental groups by voting down a staff proposal that nuclear plants be required to substantially — and expensively — harden themselves against major floods and other natural disasters. The proposal was meant to be a main NRC response to the Fukushima nuclear plant disaster after Japan’s 9.0 earthquake and tsunami in 2011……… https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/politics-news/nuclear-industry-pushing-fewer-inspections-plants-n983671

March 16, 2019 Posted by | safety, USA | Leave a comment

Danger in Russia’s nuclear- powered icebreakers parked at Murmansk

Nuclear safety expert says it’s time to consider moving risky icebreaker operations out of Murmansk

Rosatomflot’s service base is not sized for all the planned new nuclear-powered icebreakers, says Andrey Zolotkov, who previously worked as engineer onboard one of the service vessels storing spent nuclear fuel. Barents Observer  By Thomas Nilsen  March 13, 2019 

«So far, so good, but what if something goes wrong one day. Then questions will come in terms of why such operations take place within the city limits of Murmansk,» says Andrey Zolotkov, head of the autonomous non-commercial organization Bellona.

Before he started working for the nuclear safety watchdog group, Zolotkov worked for decades onboard «Imandra», a service ship storing spent nuclear fuel from the fleet of icebreakers. The vessel is berthed at Rosatomflot’s service base less than two kilometers north of the nearest blocks of flats in the Rosta district in Murmansk, a city with 300,000 inhabitants.

There are few cities in the world where more reactors’ maintenance work, change- and storage of uranium fuel, handling and storage of radioactive waste takes place within the boundaries of such big city.

«Look at the bases of the [military] Northern Fleet,» Andrey Zolokov illustrates. «There, all the maintenance and repair work with nuclear submarines take place outside and away from the towns where people are living.»

Every three to four years, the uranium fuel in the reactors of the icebreakers have to be replaced. Such high-risk operations are carried out with the most comprehensive safety precautions in the nuclear industry. Additionally, due to heat and high radiation, the fuel elements have to be temporarily stored for a few years before being transported away by train. At the base in Murmansk, such interim storage takes place onboard the two ships «Imandra» and «Lotta», as well as in spacial designed casks onshore.

An accident with release of radioactivity could reach densely populated areas in Murmansk long before anyone manage to trigger the emergency evacuation alarm.

«Considering the many new icebreakers coming the most risky parts of the nuclear maintenance operation should be moved further away from the city centre,» Andrey Zolotkov argues. He, however, underlines that there has never been any accidents at the service base.

Currently, Russia has four nuclear-powered icebreakers and one container carrier. Rosatomflot is the world’s only fleet of civilian nuclear powered vessels and when not sailing in icy waters, they are all moored at the quays in Murmansk…….. https://thebarentsobserver.com/en/2019/03/nuclear-safety-expert-says-high-time-consider-moving-risky-icebreaker-operations-out

March 16, 2019 Posted by | EUROPE, safety | Leave a comment

Confessions of a Rogue Nuclear Regulator – Gregory Jaczko

Riding the Wild Bull of Nuclear Power, Counter Punch,  

From atomic theory to nukes“…….Jaczko’s three-and-a-half years tenure as the chairman of NRC was stormy. The nuclear industry and its supporters in Congress could not stand him. The idea of reform or regulation was an anathema. In fact, the industry was so successful in its propaganda it had convinced Americans nuclear power was safe: don’t expect any accident at the nuclear power plants.

The other commissioners and senior staff looked at Jaczko with suspicion and mistrust. Here was a young man, younger than most of them, being their boss and constantly probing them to protect public health and the environment.

Running Jaczko out of town

Even the Fukushima tragedy made no difference. Jaczko was convinced NRC was a hopeless case, being a subsidiary of the nuclear industry.

“I eventually got run out of town because I saw things up close that I was not meant to see: an agency overwhelmed by the industry it is supposed to regulate and a political system determined to keep it that way,” he wrote.

The Fukushima “cataclysm” finally convinced him that “nuclear power is a failed technology.” Keep using it and it will bring “catastrophe in this country or somewhere else in the world,” he wrote.

I sympathize with the mental anguish and humiliations Jaczko suffered for trying to improve the safety of a dangerous technology. And shame on the Obama administration for missing a rare opportunity to get the country out of the nightmare embedded in nuclear power.

Jaczko had the courage to insist things  had to improve at NRC and the nuclear power plants. He knows what he is talking about. Like other dangerous technologies, nukes have no place in a civilized society.

I love Jaczko’s book: Confessions of a Rogue Nuclear Regulator. It’s a passionate and personal account of what happens to honest bureaucrats trying to use science and the government in the public interest. It’s also a riveting true story, well-written, insightful, very timely, and extremely important. In addition, the book is a warning from the horse’s mouth: nuclear power plants will continue melting down; they are ticking time bombs. And in the words of Jaczko: “Nuclear power… is large and bulky and will lumber into extinction.” https://www.counterpunch.org/2019/03/15/riding-the-wild-bull-of-nuclear-power/

March 16, 2019 Posted by | safety, USA | Leave a comment

South Korea: Nuclear reactor shut after ‘malfunction’

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/asia-pacific/south-korea-nuclear-reactor-shut-after-malfunction-/1419440

Hanbit 5 nuclear reactor has been shut down twice in last six months, local media report says
Riyaz ul Khaliq   |15.03.2019 , ANKARA

A nuclear reactor in South Korea has been shut down on Friday following a technical glitch, local media reported.

According to Yonhap news agency, South Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power (KHNP) announced 1 million-kilowatt Hanbit No. 5 in Yeonggwang region “stopped operating at around 1.25 p.m. (0425GMT), apparently due to a malfunction in its transformer”.

South Korea has six operational reactors at the Hanbit plant. The same nuclear reactor was shut down last September for its regular examination. It restarted generating power in November.

KHNP said that the malfunction in the nuclear reactor “did not cause any radiation leak or pose safety risks”.

Yonhap reported that South Korean officials have opened an investigation into what caused the malfunction in the Hanbit plant.

Hanbit No. 5 is expected to resume its operation as soon as inspections are completed, the news agency said.

March 16, 2019 Posted by | safety, South Korea | Leave a comment

New safety regulations for U.S. nuclear power stations

New regulations coming for US nuclear plants 8 years after Fukushima disaster , Washington Examiner, by John Siciliano March 12, 2019, Federal regulators are marking the eight-year anniversary of the horrendous tsunami and nuclear power plant disaster that rocked Fukushima, Japan, by issuing major new regulations this spring to harden the U.S. power plant fleet against multiple threats that could lead to similar disasters in the United States.

The new rules seek to codify individual actions taken by power plant operators at the behest of the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission in the wake of the March 11, 2011, disaster…….

The forthcoming post-Fukushima regulation, called the “Mitigation of Beyond-Design-Basis Events rule,” is slated to go into effect this spring, giving utilities and power plant operators a little more than two years to comply with new safety procedures to guard against an incident such as an earthquake, or other event, that could cause a radiation leak and environmental disaster.

The regulation is considered a “major rule” because its cost will exceed $100 million, according to the draft rule’s impact analysis.

The rule will require commercial reactors to do three things that include physically modifying the plants to protect reactor cores while adding new planning and monitoring practices.

First, power plant owners must put in place the resources and implement the procedures required to keep a reactor’s core cool in the event a power plant’s emergency electricity supply is knocked out. Similar procedures and resources must be adopted to keep fuel rod pools, where a power plant stores its radioactive waste, full of water, following any event that knocks out all of a plant’s emergency power supplies.

The inability to keep the reactor cores cool at Daiichi, once power was knocked out and emergency power packs drained, resulted in the meltdowns in Japan.

Second, the power plants must install equipment that can reliably measure the water levels at the pools used to house and cool a power plant’s spent fuel rods.

Fuel rods are used to generate heat and electricity at a nuclear power plant. When they are used up, but still highly radioactive, they have to be stored underwater until a permanent waste facility is built to house them indefinitely. No national site has been built to house commercial waste from any power plant, so most of the waste is stored locally at the power plant.

Third, the rule requires the power plants to “reserve the resources” required to protect the core and spent fuel pools from external hazards that may breach the plant’s walls and containment areas. ……..https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/policy/energy/new-regulations-coming-for-us-nuclear-plants-8-years-after-fukushima-disaster

March 14, 2019 Posted by | safety, USA | Leave a comment

Europe’s oldest nuclear reactors, with cracks in their barrels, Hunterston B – should not be restarted


Edinburgh Live 8th March 2019 The two reactors at Hunterston B nuclear power plant near Ardrossan are 43 years old – the oldest in Europe. They’re already well beyond their operating lifetimes, which have twice been extended by EDF Energy, and they’re scheduled to close down for good in 2023.
However, there’s a serious safety fault in the reactors. The fault is known as keyway root-cracking: where the graphite moderator cores in the reactors develop cracks leading to instabilities that could lead to a major nuclear accident: which would lead to a large swathe of Scotland’s central belt having to be evacuated.
The reactors have been closed since October 2018 as a result, but owners EDF Energy are currently making a case for turning them back on, with help from trade union GMB. Although the probability of a meltdown is still low, the consequences could be incredibly severe. In such an event, both Glasgow and Edinburgh would need to be entirely evacuated due to radioactive contamination. According to Dr Ian Fairlie, an independent consultant on radioactivity in the environment, and Dr David Toke, Reader in Energy Policy at the University of Aberdeen, the two reactors definitely should not be restarted.
Speaking about the cracks in the barrels, they say: “This is a serious matter because if an untoward incident were to occur – for example an earth tremor, gas excursion, steam surge, sudden outage, or sudden depressurisation, the barrels could
become dislodged and/or misaligned. “These events could in turn lead to large emissions of radioactive gases. Further, if hot spots were to occur and if nuclear fuel were to react with the graphite moderator they could lead to explosions inside the reactor core. “In the very worst case the hot graphite core could become exposed to air and ignite leading to radioactive contamination of large areas of central Scotland, including the metropolitan areas of Glasgow and Edinburgh.”

https://www.edinburghlive.co.uk/news/edinburgh-news/cracks-found-nuclear-reactor-could-15944122

March 10, 2019 Posted by | safety, UK | Leave a comment

Beyond Nuclear challenges license extension for Peach Bottom nuclear plant

Activists challenge license extension for Peach Bottom nuclear plant, Lindsay C. VanAsdalan, York Dispatch, 5 Mar 19,    An anti-nuclear watchdog  aims to challenge Exelon Generation’s bid to extend the operating license at its Peach Bottom Atomic Power Station through 2054.

The group’s request for a hearing will not be approved unless the U.S. Atomic Safety and Licensing Board deems its arguments admissible at a preliminary hearing March 27.

Exelon’s application to extend its 60-year operating license an additional 20 years is among the first in the country, according to Nuclear Regulatory Commission spokesman Neil Sheehan.

The anti-nuclear group Beyond Nuclear contends that Exelon did not meet NRC standards for renewal because it did not provide evidence of studying its aging equipment.

“Exelon could be gathering evidence from closed stations to harvest materials to look at things like how weld material has fared under 49 years of similar operation,” said Paul Gunter, director of the reactor oversight project at Beyond Nuclear.

If approved, Exelon’s proposal could extend the life of Peach Bottom’s Unit 3 through 2053 and Unit 4 through 2054.

The proposed extension at Peach Bottom comes as Exelon bids for support in the General Assembly for legislation that would benefit its nuclear facilities in Pennsylvania,  including Dauphin County facility Three Mile Island, which the firm has said it will close without state support.

Opponents of the legislation — which has yet to roll out in Harrisburg — have already labeled it a “bailout.”

It’s unknown how aging equipment at Peach Bottom would fare with such a long service life, Gunter said.

Most nuclear plants in the U.S. have received initial renewals extending their licenses from 40 to 60 years, said Sheehan, but a request for a second renewal is rare.

Only three plants — including Peach Bottom — are seeking their second license extension, this time from 60 years to 80. …… The group is looking for Exelon’s application to demonstrate it has “sufficient” knowledge — not just a little — on the issues that could affect aging equipment.

Exelon’s decommissioned Oyster Creek plant has the same boiling-water reactor as Peach Bottom, so there are opportunities to do extensive destructive analysis on larger equipment that wouldn’t be possible at Peach Bottom, Gunter said.

“A little bit of knowledge can be dangerous, particularly when talking about an inherently dangerous technology,” Gunter said…….ttps://www.yorkdispatch.com/story/news/2019/03/05/activists-challenge-license-extension-peach-bottom-nuclear-plant/3060252002/

March 7, 2019 Posted by | safety, USA | 1 Comment

IAEA calls for more funding for its safeguards activities

World Nuclear News 4th March 2019 , Yukiya Amano, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency
(IAEA), has called on its Member States to provide additional funding for
the Agency’s safeguards activities, such as those to verify the nuclear
programmes in Iran and North Korea.

http://www.world-nuclear-news.org/Articles/Amano-calls-for-funding-for-IAEA-safeguards-activi

March 7, 2019 Posted by | 2 WORLD, safety | Leave a comment

Many infringements found in Orano’s (formerly Areva) uclear site at Tricastin, France

Sortir du Nucleaire 5th March 2019 , As part of ASN’s duties concerning the control of basic nuclear
installations (BNIs), an unannounced inspection was carried out on 6 March
2018 on the W and TU5 installations (BNI No. 155), operated by Orano Cycle
on the nuclear site Tricastin, on the theme “waste management”. As this
inspection revealed numerous infringements, the “Quit Nuclear” Network
filed a direct summons against Orano.
https://www.sortirdunucleaire.org/Tricastin-dechets-Orano

March 7, 2019 Posted by | France, safety | Leave a comment

Bankrupt Pacific Gas and Electric wants to restart Diablo Canyon Nuclear Station,without prior inspection

What Deadly Disaster Is the Criminal, Bankrupt PG&E So Desperately Hiding at Its Diablo Canyon Nukes,  https://readersupportednews.org/opinion2/277-75/55293-rsn-what-deadly-disaster-is-the-criminal-bankrupt-pgae-so-desperately-hiding-at-its-diablo-canyon-nukes

By Harvey Wasserman, Reader Supported News, 3 Mar 19,   s the bankrupt federal felon Pacific Gas & Electric desperately hiding something very deadly at its Diablo Canyon Power Plant? Will we know by March 7, when the company wants to restart Unit One, which is currently shut for refueling? Will YOU sign our petition asking Governor Gavin Newsom and other officials to inspect that reactor before it can restart?

In 2010, PG&E blew up a neighborhood in San Bruno, killing eight people.

In 2018, it helped burn down much of northern California, killing more than eighty people. The company has now admitted its culpability in starting that infamous Camp Fire and has questioned its own ability to continue to operate.

On February 6, it incinerated five buildings in San Francisco.

The company is bankrupt. It has been convicted of numerous federal felonies. It actually has a probation officer.

But the real terror comes at its Diablo Canyon nuclear reactors, nine miles west of San Luis Obispo on the central California coast.

The reactors are embrittled. They may be cracked. As with the gas pipes in San Bruno and the power poles in northern California, PG&E’s maintenance at these huge reactors has been systematically neglected.

But the company does NOT want the public to inspect them. WHY?

Right now, Diablo Unit One is shut for refueling. Critical inspections for embrittlement, cracking and deferred maintenance could be easily and cheaply done. Public discussions could also be held on vulnerability to earthquakes, waste management, and corporate competence.

The public does not need Diablo’s power, which often overloads the grid, forcing the shutdown of cleaner, safer wind and solar capacity. Reopening a cracked reactor would turn the fuel assemblies on-site into high-level radioactive waste, converting a multi-million-dollar asset into a huge fiscal liability.

Diablo Unit One is in particular danger because it was designed in the 1960s. Its original blueprints did not account for the dozen earthquake faults since discovered nearby. Copper used in key welds is now known to be inferior. Older reactors like those at Diablo are susceptible to embrittlement and cracking, which could be catastrophic.

In 1991 the Yankee Rowe Reactor in Massachusetts was forced to shut because of embrittlement. It was younger then than Diablo One is now.

Because PG&E is in bankruptcy and on federal probation, the state has extraordinary power right now. Normally such issues are pre-empted by the feds.

But at this time the governor, state agencies, the California Public Utilities Commission, and the courts have the right to demand these inspections. Certainly the public has a legitimate expectation to be protected.

The downwind consequences of a major accident are beyond comprehension. Diablo is less than 200 miles upwind from Los Angeles. A radioactive cloud from a likely disaster would threaten the lives of millions. Damage to property and the natural ecology, including some of the world’s most productive farmland, would be essentially impossible to calculate.

US Representative Salud Carbajal (D-San Luis Obispo) has already questioned PG&E’s competence to run these two huge reactors. A number of Hollywood stars, along with State Senator Ben Allen (D-Santa Monica), San Luis Obispo Mayor Heidi Harmon, and numerous towns and party organizations, have already joined with more than a thousand grassroots activists to ask the governor to require these critical tests and to subject the findings to public scrutiny.

Given PG&E’s bankruptcy and criminal convictions, and the extreme vulnerability of reactors as old as those at Diablo Canyon, we must seriously wonder why the company would now ask to be exempt from a simple set of inspections.

To protect the health, safety, economy and ecology of our state, the governor, regulatory agencies, CPUC, and the courts must step in to demand these aged reactors be immediately subjected to painstaking public scrutiny.

There is no good reason not to do this, and no excuse for PG&E to be asking for an exemption from a simple, long-overdue inspection.

The last thing California can afford is a radioactive replay of what has happened with that pipeline explosion in San Bruno or those catastrophic fires in what’s left of the northern forests.

Next month marks the 40th anniversary of the accident at Three Mile Island, and the release of The China Syndrome, which told a terrifying tale we also do not want to see repeated.

You can sign our petition asking Governor Newsom and our public officials to step in at Diablo Canyon NOW, before it is once again too late.

March 5, 2019 Posted by | safety, USA | Leave a comment