Blakeslee and Rachel Maddow discuss Diablo

March 25, 2011

Sam Blakeslee

State Sen. Sam Blakeslee spoke out about his safety concerns at the Diablo Canyon nuclear plant with MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow on Thursday.

In response to inquiries about the safety of the Diablo Canyon power plant, Blakeslee, a geophysicist with a doctorate in earthquake studies, said that data is needed to answer that question. He repeated his request that PG&E suspend its efforts to renew licenses until it has completed earthquake studies.

“I am concerned that they put relicensing ahead of the seismic studies. I think they need to turn that around and do it immediately,” Blakeslee said. “I’ve called for them to do so. I issued that challenge two days ago.”

Following the discovery of the Hosgri Fault during the plant’s construction, PG&E spent $4.5 million to retrofit the plant. In 1985, the $5.7 billion plant began producing energy.

In 2008, the Shoreline Fault was discovered less than a mile from the plant. In order to learn more about the Shoreline Fault, which way it angels, its length and proximity to the Diablo plant, an advanced seismic study needs to be conducted.

PG&E officials are working their way through the permit process required to conduct the study that a contracted company is slated to complete by 2013.

Meanwhile, PG&E is seeking to extend operations of the two nuclear reactors by 20 years, until 2044 and 2045.

Blakeslee is questioning why PG&E is racing to get relicensed before nailing down the risk assessment. He contends regulators are not providing enough oversight.

“The challenge is the regulatory entities that are tasked with really providing oversight have become to close to the industry. They no longer take their responsibilities seriously with regard to regulatory safety,” Blakeslee said. “We need to be tough on these regulators so we end with an environment that is safe.”

Officials at PG&E contend that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission requires ongoing seismic safety unrelated to relicensing.

“Our lawmakers, the community and PG&E share a common goal – that’s safe nuclear operations,” said Kory Raftery, spokesperson for PG&E. “The process by which we accomplish this goal is through our current operating licenses, which require us to look at seismic safety – today. The NRC can and does raise its standards at any time and does not wait for a license renewal.”


24 Comments

  1. knowitall says:

    Some good information: NRC Japan FAQ (fixed link)

    A disclaimer for the hotdog/typoqueen types:

    I know the NRC isn’t a credible as Rachel Maddow because they don’t realize how dangerous Diablo is like you do. But this is what they do. They are experts, even more so than Blakeslee. They have their people in Japan monitoring the situation. Does Blakeslee have anyone in Japan? Unlike Rachel Maddow, it’s not entertaining or inflammatory in any way so you might have a hard time getting past the cover. Enjoy.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  2. Jack L says:

    Thom’s blog
    Nuclear Waste is the Achille’s Heel…
    You need to know this. As the death toll soars from last Friday’s 9.0 earthquake and tsunami – 50 Japanese nuclear plant workers are putting their lives on the line to prevent another catastrophe in Japan – nuclear meltdown. All 6 GE Mark I reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi plant are dangerously close to melting down – but that’s not even the worst of it. Sitting on top of each reactors are pools of nuclear waste that contain larger amounts of harmful radiation than the reactors themselves.

    And there are reports that those pools of waste are overheating – catching fire – and spewing that highly toxic radioactive waste into the atmosphere. It’s like a massive dirty bomb being constantly detonated over the plant. Late last night – the remaining workers at the plant were evacuated due to extreme levels of radiation detected when pressure was relieved from one of the reactors. Those workers returned shorty after the radiation subsided.

    While their heroics should be recognized – it’s starting to look like they’re playing a losing game of whack-a-mole. As they desperately try to cool one reactor with seawater – the other reactors start to overheat – and so on. We should be taking note here in the United States. We have 104 operational nuclear power plants dotting the country – and many of them use the very same Mark 1 reactor design that is now under criticism in Japan.

    A reactor that was designed by General Electric – that prompted 3 GE workers to resign 35 years ago in protest because they argued the design was flawed and the reactor would be unable to contain nuclear material should a cooling system malfunction occur. And it turns out today – these guys were right. Japan is not some third world nation – their power grid is just as advanced as ours – if not more so – so to believe that what’s happening there couldn’t happen here is naïve.

    But…wait! There’s more….

    While the rest of the world reconsiders nuclear power – Americans could get screwed by elected representatives who are snugly in the pocket of the nuclear energy lobby. Switzerland, Germany, and even Hugo Chavez’s Venezuela have all put a hold on nuclear power pending a full review. But in America – where money and politics are fused together – it’s unlikely the same sort of precautions will be taken here.

    Politico notes that last year – the nuclear power lobby spent tens of millions of dollars in campaign contributions and lobbying efforts to ensure a future spot in America’s energy portfolio. And like the big oil lobby – these guys don’t even blink at the future risks posed by their industry.

    Let’s hope it doesn’t take a catastrophe like what’s happening in Japan – to happen here – before our elected representatives wake up to the dangers of nuclear power.

    -Thom

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1

  3. knowitall says:

    Blakeslee is no hero. He is merely capitalizing on Fukushima to get himself some attention from the national media. There’s nothing to gain by suspending the license extension. The media likes to play up the fact that the japan earthquake was larger than the plant was designed for even though the consequences of the earthquake were insignificant and did not lead to the meltdown.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 8

    • hotdog says:

      Not true at all. Where do you get your ideas? The meltdown was a direct consequence-Quake, tsunami, meltdown. And though the Japan quake was many miles away we have two large faults within a few miles of our ‘devil’.

      The quake brought the tsunami which killed the cooling of the rods which led to the plant running out of control. Seems ridiculous they couldn’t/didn’t have a simple way to avoid this but with all conventional wisdom we have this mess-because humans are fallible. We always figure the ‘suits’ will do the best thing-not so. Look at our economic mess-brought to us by ‘suits’. Look at the unsafe nukes-brought to us by ‘suits’. It’s all brought to us by human GREED. All those groovy safety features FORCED on PG&E-paid for by us while PG&E gets big profits. And they used our money to try to foist a hideous proposition on us last election to further their stranglehold on energy monopolies around the state-what bums.
      And it is our greed (for endless energy) and greed on the part of the suits that might lead any person to oppose serious scrutiny of Diablo and all other plants. I say again, the folks who fought against this plant are mostly the same who also opposed our ghastly war in Nam-they were proven right in the first situation and will be proven right in this one too. All of these crummy things are driven by greed.
      Sam has a doctorate in geological issues with a concentration on quakes. And our armchair sissies say they know more than he does about this-in a world of limbag and beck I guess that makes sense, however ludicrous it is.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 2

      • knowitall says:

        Do you have any idea how crazy you sound?

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 5

        • justme says:

          “….earthquake …insignificant…did not lead to the meltdown”.

          Do you have any ideahow crazy YOU sound?

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 4

      • Side_Show_Bob says:

        “Not true at all. Where do you get your ideas? The meltdown was a direct consequence-Quake, tsunami, meltdown.”

        hotdog, so now you’ve got the plant at “meltdown” status and as a result of the Quake, Tsunami.

        I ask you know to please post a concise explanation of where your conclusion comes from and please submit the data that confirms it.

        Bottom line is, you have NO CLUE what you are talking about just like most all of the others that are scrambling to dismantle the Nuclear Power Industry in this country. The Japanese have no definite knowledge at this point as to what failed and why. As has been cited in preliminary opinions by Nuclear Specialists, it’s highly possible the plant was nearly unscathed by the earthquake yet the Tsunami is what started the process downhill. They also did say that most, if not all reactors did shut down when the quake struck. Bottomline, there’s a lot of information yet to be garnered from this event.

        You egg-sucking liberal dogs will do nothing but spew the same crap over and over again. Try shutting your yaps and sit back and listen. This will get figured out and only then can decisions be made to make changes deemed necessary.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 2

        • hotdog says:

          More insight from an egg sucking liberal commie (I left off the ‘dog’ since that is such a cool compliment you didn’t mean to fling my way). I just listen to the news, credible news. You are right about most of us not knowing a whole lot about what is going down now in Japan. But I know a few things about what went down before, during and after the Devil was licensed here. Maybe you were in diapers, or are now. Reading these comments here it seems there is a huge difference between our perceptions, I hope that gets cleared up soon. The news tonight is very bleak, and supports my comments and those of Jack L.

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  4. Side_Show_Bob says:

    Rachel Maddow? REALLY?

    I mean…she used to be a dude, right?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 9

    • WiseGuy says:

      Not true.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 3

    • hotdog says:

      Relevance? Probably not true and who cares anyway? She is bright, entertaining and knows way more than most of us.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 3

      • knowitall says:

        That’s right. News these days is all about captivating the audience. Which is best done by scaring the crap out of you.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 2

      • Side_Show_Bob says:

        “…and knows way more than most of us.”

        That’s pretty pathetic hotdog. Please don’t include me in the “us” part. That probably works for you and your Sheople, though.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 3

        • zaphod says:

          She is very sharp, a quick study, and can hold her own against narcissistic authoritarian debate points with the best of them, understudy to Jon Stewart.
          Maddow’s research driven John Birch Society commentary.

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  5. Jack L says:

    Go for it Sam. Kick some pa-tu-tie. Time to scrap this old dangerous plant and build a new high tech state of the art much safer version……..somewhere else.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 3

  6. rogerfreberg says:

    Oh, the hand wringing ! The soul searching! The poignant moments!

    Gosh, I am so scared about all the what if’s!! I think Bill Murray said it best,” what if I can’t find a bathroom …. and my bladder explodes!!” Worry, Worry, Worry! Where are the ‘Mothers with cats ” when you need them? Okay, these are interesting hypotheticals that deserve attention…. BUT, let’s get back to reality folks. What is Sacramento going to do to get our state back on track EXCEPT stay quiet and support interesting distractions??

    When Rome is burning, all our buddies in government are passing such economic recovery and environmentally sound bills like mandatory breathalyzers for cars and big fines for leaving your trash cans out ( San Luis Obispo)….

    Go to work, boys and girls,

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 11

    • Typoqueen says:

      You have an unusual fixation with women and cats or is that some type of weird fetish.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 4

  7. davidbroadwater says:

    Diablo Canyon on TV (msnbc) – 3 Video Clips
    Two include interviews with Senator Sam Blakeslee and Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom.

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/26315908/vp/42260830#42260830
    Rachel Maddow Show / MSNBC
    3-24-11
    The DIABLO You Don’t Know
    7:40- minute clip.
    Guest: Senator Sam Blakeslee
    Blakeslee calls for halting relicensing until advanced seismic analysis is completed – reversing the process now under way, says PG&E is “racing” to get 20-year license extension 13 years before current licenses expire, that seismic studies would take three to four years, cites two faults within hundreds of meters of plant, possibility that they may connect and cause increased magnitude earthquakes, and says the NRC is too close to the industry.

    The DIABLO You Don’t Know
    Rachel Maddow Show / MSNBC
    3-22-11
    4:02-minute clip.
    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/26315908/vp/42222780#42222780
    She cites Blakeslee’s call for seismic analysis (without naming him, but mentioning he’s a geophysicist & Republican), history back to 1970s, discovery of the Hosgri and Shoreline earthquake faults (without naming them), Union of Concerned Scientists report on the uncorrected 18-month valve failure, backwards construction of reactor domes (“Mr. Magoo”), and the Calif. Energy Commission’s call for 3-D mapping of the seismic zone. She also cites Gavin Newsom’s previous interview on MSNBC about Diablo Canyon.

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/21134540/vp/42153847#42153847
    Andrea Mitchell Reports / MSNBC
    3-18-11
    5:32-minute clip.
    Guest: Calif. Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom
    banner – Ca Lt Gov: Would Not Build Diablo Nuke Today
    Newsom cites multiple faults discovered, PG&E’s license extension, federal agency inattention, the 18-month back-up cooling-valve system failure, population within the ingestion zone. A map of California with Diablo Canyon & San Onofre plants and San Andreas fault is displayed twice.

    Transcripts are also available along with these clips (click on “transcript” at bottom of screen).
    David Broadwater

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 1

  8. SLOBIRD says:

    What was he thinking? I think Mr. Blakeslee has gone over the edge. He use to be a modern Republican but between his actions last weekend at the California Repulican Convention, his negotiating with Gov Brown, and then to appear on this hokie-pokie show leaves lots of doubts in my mind. I am a Democrat by registeration but vote with my brain and liked Mr. Blakeslee, but then, I also liked John McCain until the last presidential election.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 17

    • zaphod says:

      The modern Republican allows no discourse with the Governor of California or a woman news commentator. Thats just too far out! hokie-pokie show

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 3

    • paulfenn says:

      We need more elected officials like Senator Blakeslee in office to protect the public against disasters like Japan’s. As a seismologist, Senator Blakeslee knows that, like the Japan reactors, PG&E’s Diablo nuclear reactor sits on dangerous earthquake faults. Don’t believe him? He also knows that, unlike Japan’s damaged reactors, an accident at Diablo will blow the radioactive fallout directly toward population centers to the west and south. Watch the weather report – it’s true. You can make vaguely insulting statements about Senator Blakeslee “negotiating with” the the Governor of California if you like (your rhetoric implies that this amounts to ‘negotiating with terrorists,’ which is absurd), but I prefer a public official who anticipates threats to public health and economies to a backslapper who does not care about his own community’s safety. if you don’t care about human life it might concern you that sea water in Fukushima is 1000 times too radioactive, Japan’s food now banned from import into many countries. There go the farmers, seafood industry. Water in Tokyo was declared undrinkable by children. Imagine all of Southern California unable to drink the water. Like Japan, a private energy corporation is responsible for the safety of the Diablo reactor. Remember San Bruno? If you place your confidence in reassuring marketing of energy companies and turn your back on elected officials and experts with substantiated concerns about the dangers of the Diablo reactor to San Luis Obispo and communities downwind to the south, you risk making your own community and economy vulnerable to terrible disasters like Chernobyl and Fukushima. See http://www.powergrab.info

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 1

    • WiseGuy says:

      You supported McCain? Then it’s obvious you have poor judgment in such matters.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 4

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