Blakeslee blasts PG&E for disregarding risk at Diablo

March 22, 2011

Sam Blakeslee – photo by Dennis Eamon Young

Sen. Sam Blakeslee (R-San Luis Obispo), a geophysicist with a doctorate in earthquake studies, asked PG&E on Monday to suspend its efforts to renew licenses until it has completed earthquake studies suggested by the California Energy Commission. [BayCitizen]

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

Blakeslee cited the recent tragedies in Japan and San Bruno as evidence more research is needed.

“I’m concerned mostly about this culture of disregard of risk and the lack of concern regarding uncertainty,” Blakeslee said during the hearing of the Senate Select Committee on Earthquake and Disaster Preparedness Response and Recovery

Even so, Steve David, director of site services at the Diablo Canyon Power Plant, replied when asked if PG&E would voluntarily suspend permitting efforts, “At this time, I don’t have that information.”

In response, Blakeslee said he would again draft legislation to require the company to delay permitting efforts until the seismic risks are better understood.

A similar bill Blakeslee authored was unanimously approved by the Legislature before being vetoed in 2009 by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.

“It’s a culture that’s become endemic in PG&E and it has resulted in loss of life and potentially putting my constituents in a place of great risk,” Blakeslee said.

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There is no level of radiation exposure, no matter how small, that is harmless. Every federal agency that regulates radioactive pollution agrees.

Any exposure raises cancer risk

Then don’t fly in an airplane, get too close to a TV, or go into an old basement

do you really think there is no difference between the type of radiation you mentioned and fission products such as the radionuclides iodine-131, cesium-137, stontium-90, plutonium etc., that have not been seen on earth before the atomic age in the 1940’s?

Or eat bananas. Or go out into the sun….

The question remains: Would you rather eat a banana or ingest radioactive fallout from a failed nuclear power plant? Or: “Get a suntan, or be irradiated by the radioactive leakings from a crippled nuclear power plant?

Which would you choose?

Actually there was no question. I simply rebuffed his claim of “no matter how small.”

I’d still rather eat a banana.

People react negatively to politicians reacting to this because most moves they make are looked at as self serving. Whether they are or are not is not the point. My initial response to statements like these by politicians is to think “he’s just pushing though an agenda with fear”, but then I have to remind myself that the issue maybe important. The key to decision making during times of disaster or emotion is to make them rationally.

Nice job, Blakeslee.

On a side note: I thought PGE’s profits were largely controlled by the P.U.C., due to their virtual monopoly on generation and distribution. If that is true, additional safeguards would not have a material effect on the company’s bottom line since the costs would be borne by the ratepayers. It seems plausible, then, that we the ratepayers and neighbors can/could have all the safeguards we are willing to pay for. What am I missing?

Jump on the band wagon Sam… If the earthquake and subsequent tsunami had not occured in Japan, whould we have heard from you? Doubt it. I’m sure there are many other things more pressing on your agenda than caving into all your constituents that fear the atom. As far as more and more studies on local earthquake faults, when is it enough? You could study it to death and still know nothing more in 10 years than you know right now. If Diablo is such a threat, then propose another form of energy to replace it. Perhaps small generators on our toilets. Flush for 5 watts of electricity put into the power gird. I would fear more about getting malaria in Alaska than living next to Diablo canyon.

Hmmm. I wonder why Darwin didn’t take this writer out long ago… Bother to read the article? Sam authored a bill two years ago that was, well, read the article before jamming your lame mouth in gear.

The catastrophe in Japan points out that Ma Nature can kick our ass anytime she feels like it. Fancy ‘suits’ that stood to make a fortune off us told us the plant here could withstand anything Nature could throw at us-weil, au contraire!!!!!! If not for a crummy governor and president at the time Diablo would never have been built or licensed. Lame brains like my dear friend mrc…. decided to go for the money and to hell with safety. At the time we could have developed plenty of alternative energy but the same idiots decided to go with coal, oil and nukes (heavily subsidized mind you) so on the non level economic and political playing field solar, wind and other renewables lost out big time and our corporations maintained their strangle hold on our future.

Does that answer these incredibly foolish accusations?

Diablo Canyon — love it or leave it!

Quit yer bitchin’

Potential radiation leaks; love em or leave em?

I trust that the employees working at Diablo Canyon are on their toes, that they do the absolutely best job they can to protect the citizens of California, especially the residents of San Luis Obispo county since their families live here. That said, I don’t trust PG & E as an entity that is in the business of making a profit FIRST, above all else, with the safety of their operations such as the pipelines in San Bruno taking a back seat in the quest for profits. It is very possible that Diablo Canyon could withstand almost any earthquake that could happen, but to demand that the studies be conducted first that could back up those claims before the licensing is acted on for extending the lifespan of Diablo is simply “prudent”. I hope that I do not feel that it is in my best health interest to move away from Diablo since I have really enjoyed my 38 years here so far. Perhaps if Diablo cannot be proven to be safe enough for the potential earthquakes that might happen, it would be a good idea to decommission the plant sooner rather than later.

Wow, I thought your type had died off with Sen Joe McCarthy! Oh well, takes all kinds I suppose…

I was going to throw some logic at this ‘love it or leave it’ insanity but then, what’s the point? Like trying to reason with the teabag people; logic and common sense are out the window so what is left?

Wow, I’m impressed. Good job Sam. I’m glad to see that we still have a few intelligent self thinking politicians that don’t just follow the party line or cave in to big corps.

Terrific Sam, your position is well placed and long overdue in the public discourse. Too bad Arnie was such a dummie on this. This is exactly what the protesters from around the world were talking about in the 70’s when voicing concern about this nuke.

I think, just like with the anti VN war folks, the people will be proven to have been right all along, against the endless moneyed tide of the corporate interests.

Thank you, Sam, for using your qualified knowledge of the subject and position to bring this issue up. Really. So many things just slip on by so easily.