Over 230 people attended a standing-room-only public forum of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) on the evening of November 20 in San Luis Obispo, CA, to express their opinions the NRC’s Draft Generic Environmental Impact Statement (GEIS) and proposed Waste Confidence Rule. The GEIS attempts to evaluate the environmental impacts associated with the continued storage of spent nuclear fuel after the closure of nuclear plants, in the short and long term, and even “indefinitely” in the case no long term federal solution for storing nuclear waste is found.
The Waste Confidence Rule states that the NRC has confidence that, even though it has failed to figure out what to do with radioactive waste during the past half century, it will solve the problem “in time” in order to continue granting license extensions for aging nuclear plants and to allow the creation of additional radioactive waste. The vast majority of the 100 people who addressed the meeting spoke against the NRC’s Waste Confidence Rule and voiced their opposition to the continued storage of nuclear fuel rods in spend fuel pools at the Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant.
Jerry B. Brown, Ph.D., Director of the World’s Business Academy’s Safe Energy Project spoke at the forum. Brown said, “if the US NRC is seriously concerned about the health and safety of the citizens living on the Central Coast of California, the NRC should first immediately suspend the operating license of the Diablo Canyon nuclear plant until it is brought into compliance with NRC safety regulations regarding earthquake threats; and, second, immediately move all of the nuclear fuel stored in spent fuel pools to an off-site location, not vulnerable to earthquake and tsunami risks, and subsequently transfer them to dry cask storage as soon as possible.”
For more information about the World Business Academy’s Safe Energy Project, visit SafeEnergyProject.org
Dr. Brown’s full statement before the committee:
U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission Meeting on the Waste Confidence Act
San Luis Obispo, CA – November 20, 2013
Prepared statement of Jerry B. Brown, Ph.D., Director
Safe Energy Project, World Business Academy
Good evening. My name is Dr. Jerry B. Brown, director of the Safe Energy Project of the World Business Academy, Santa Barbara, California.
Given the impossibility of presenting, in the three minutes allotted per speaker, a robust reply to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s Waste Confidence Proposed Rule and Draft Generic Environmental Impact Statement, NUREG 2157, of September 2013, I will confine myself to two recommendations.
First, if the US NRC is seriously concerned about the health and safety of the citizens living on the Central Coast of California, the NRC should (1) immediately suspend the operating license of the Diablo Canyon nuclear plant until it is brought into compliance with NRC safety regulations regarding earthquake threats; and (2) immediately move all of the nuclear fuel stored in spent fuel pools to an off-site location, not vulnerable to earthquake and tsunami risks, and subsequently transfer them to dry cask storage as soon as possible.
To elaborate, the GEIS Abstract states that “The objective of this draft Waste Confidence Generic Environmental Impact Statement is to examine the potential environmental impacts that could occur as a result of the continued storage of spent nuclear fuel (spent fuel) at at-reactor and away-from-reactor sites until a repository is available.”
The cruel irony of the timing of this Public Hearing is that – as we speak − we and the world are witnessing the ongoing international environmental impacts of the stricken nuclear plant at Fukushima, which is in such dangerous condition that a future earthquake – of which there is a high probability – “could trigger a disaster that could decimate Japan and effect the entire West Coast of North America,” according to the prominent Japanese-Canadian scientist David Suzuki.
The only components of the four damaged reactors that survived the earthquake, tsunami, loss of coolant and reactor explosions relatively intact were that portion of the 11,000 fuel rods which were in dry cask storage.
According to PG&E figures, as of this month, November 2013, 67% – or 1,920 of the Diablo Canyon spent fuel assemblies – are currently in spent fuel pools serving units 1 and 2.
A recent report by the prestigious Union of Concerned Scientists, titled “Seismic Shift: Diablo Canyon Literally and Figuratively on Shaky Ground,” found that “in the case of Diablo Canyon, the NRC is ignoring its regulations, unfairly exposing millions of Americans to undue risk.”
This is because Diablo Canyon, even after significant seismic upgrades in the 1980s, is not designed to meet current NRC safety regulations, given the unique, level of multiple, known earthquake threats surrounding the plant, including the Hosgri and Shoreline faults – and given that, over the 40 year life of the plant, the chance that a large earthquake will occur at Diablo Canyon in any one year is about 1 in 6. One in six! This means that the NRC is playing radioactive roulette with the lives and livelihood of the people and businesses on the Central Coast of California.
Until this life-threatening situation is addressed, the World Business Academy can only conclude that the proposed Waste Confidence Rule and EIS is nothing more than a preposterous Con Game, and gives it a resounding vote of NO CONFIDENCE.