Diablo Canyon used bad data for safety equipment for 30 years

March 9, 2015

Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power PlantOPINION by Friends of the Earth

Pacific Gas & Electric Co. used incorrect earthquake and accident data when building crucial safety equipment for the Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant, according to information released by Senator Barbara Boxer. Friends of the Earth said the revelation suggests that PG&E has acted with gross negligence and that the twin-reactor plant on California’s Central Coast should be immediately shut down pending a public investigation.

Correspondence from the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission — released by Sen. Boxer in a recent hearing and reported Sunday on Page 1 of the San Francisco Chronicle (PDF) — shows that since Diablo Canyon’s first reactor came online in 1984, PG&E failed to use updated seismic and loss-of-coolant-accident data, known as LOCA loads, for replacement equipment. Failure of such equipment in an earthquake could lead to a catastrophic release of radiation. PG&E should have used new data after a previously unknown fault, the Hosgri, was discovered during initial construction, but violated its federal operating license by failing to use the updated data in conjunction with loss of cooling accident data in designing and constructing replacement steam generators and reactor vessel heads for the reactors.

In 2011, PG&E notified the NRC of its decades-long negligence, but incredibly, the NRC failed to cite PG&E for any infraction. Instead NRC and PG&E worked together to secretly and illegally alter the plant’s operating license in September 2013. Friends of the Earth has a case pending in the U.S. Court of Appeals asking that the illegal license revision be thrown out and that Diablo Canyon be shut pending public review to determine whether or not the reactors can withstand the forces of newly identified earthquake faults that surround the plant.

Instead of addressing its malfeasance, PG&E launched an internal effort to try to show that despite using the wrong design data, the equipment it had installed was OK. PG&E has asked the California Public Utilities Commission for $133.5 million from ratepayers for what it calls a “Licensing Basis Verification Program.” The utility did not explain that they were asking to bill their customers for a paper exercise to cover up its negligence in the faulty design of well over $1 billion worth of equipment, also paid by customers.

Since the Hosgri Fault was discovered, new research has revealed that at least four faults surrounding Diablo Canyon are capable of causing earthquakes more powerful than the reactors were designed to withstand The plant’s former NRC senior resident inspector, Dr. Michael Peck, warned last year that the increased risks from earthquakes meant that the plant was operating outside of its license and should be shut pending review — a warning that came before the revelations about PG&E’s use of outdated safety data.

“This shows gross negligence by PG&E and a shameful lack of oversight by federal regulators,” said Damon Moglen, senior strategic advisor to Friends of the Earth. “It’s terrifying to think that for 30 years PG&E used the wrong numbers for vital equipment at the U.S. reactors most at risk from earthquakes.”

“No one would dream of putting nuclear reactors in that location today,” Mogen said. “Diablo Canyon should never have been constructed in the first place, and now it is clear it should not be allowed to operate another day. Diablo Canyon must be shut down now, and there should be both state and federal investigations into PG&E’s negligence.”

Dave Freeman, former head of the federal Tennessee Valley Authority, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power and the Sacramento Municipal Utility District, said PG&E’s negligence fits the utility’s pattern of cutting corners on safety, which led to the fatal gas pipeline explosion in San Bruno in 2010.

“There they go again,” said Freeman, now senior energy adviser to Friends of the Earth. “Just as with San Bruno, PG&E has again put profits before safety, has misused ratepayers’ money and misled state regulators at the PUC.”

Friends of the Earth fights to create a more healthy and just world. Our current campaigns focus on promoting clean energy and solutions to climate change, keeping toxic and risky technologies out of the food we eat and products we use, and protecting marine ecosystems and the people who live and work near them.

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

The following statement in the article is not true: “Since the Hosgri Fault was discovered, new research has revealed that at least four faults surrounding Diablo Canyon are capable of causing earthquakes more powerful than the reactors were designed to withstand…”

This article is a joke. They do a study that shows that the seismic risk is less than they thought it was, and that gets spun into them using bad data. Friends of the Earth will stop at nothing to instill fear in people.

It all goes back to people who have way too much time on their hands. They mostly build their whole life and focus around these “activities”. I do not know if it still true, but I was told that SLO has more non-profits per capita than any other county in California.

San Francisco County is the ninth county with the most nonprofit organizations per capita.

California couldn’t place in the top 5, so no it’s not true.

See if people spend some of there “way too much time” time on learning, then you can better understand a subject make informed statements, based on good information.

Or slighting people if that’s all you got.

Shocked – its much more than too much time. Organizations like Mothers for Peace and Friends of the Earth collect thousands of rate payer dollars for their protests from the PUC ratepayers. It is called the Intervener Program. Each hour their lawyers spend protesting at NRC and Safety Committee meetings they are paid up to $600 per hour from YOUR UTILITY payments.

Beyond that there is direct fossil fuel company money. The Sierra Club, for example, a couple years ago was caught red handed taking millions from the natural gas industry and this “Club” protests nuclear power all over the country.

Why do you think these protesters go on and on for years protesting Diablo Canyon? For a fun passtime? No, it is to fund their organizations with lots of cash from the PUC, fossil fuel industry and other places.

I don’t like organizations which organize themselves around government grants and call themselves nonprofits while their executives take home hefty salaries. That being said, the devil is in the details, and if you don’t do research on things like this to get those details then all you’re going to do is fall prey to propaganda from one side or the other.

So… first of all the Intervenor Program does not pay people up to $600 an hour for protesting. It does cover costs (incl pay, presumably) from public interest organizations for activities related to participation in PUC proceedings. Given that PG&E is a natural monopoly with no competition in most of its markets, and they also pass the bill along to ratepayers to cover the costs of covering their interests, it certainly makes sense that ratepayers would cover some of the costs of people who are covering the interests of the RATEPAYER. Here is the program information: http://www.cpuc.ca.gov/NR/rdonlyres/A0BD21F9-7644-477E-94F4-85B504D43F66/0/UpdatedIntervenorCompensationProgramGuide.pdf

So next, digging into the Friends of the Earth, I found this information: http://www.charitynavigator.org/index.cfm?bay=search.summary&orgid=3733#.VQUu2I7F_4U

It indicates to me that overall, this organization is run with the interests of serving its mission and not its executives. They are open and publish all of their information. Nearly all of their income is from private donations, not government grants.

So that’s about as far as I needed to go to realize that what you just said was a load of nonsense and that you are motivated not by facts, but by an ideological bent. Also, I have not noticed your name on here before, which indicates to me that you *might* have a particular interest in this issue.

“…………….according to information released by Senator Barbara Boxer. ”

This line from the article is all you need to know to discredit the article, to know that it’s sky-falling liberal bunk, alarmist crap from the windmills and woodchips croissant crowd.

Anybody ever actually LISTEN to Dave Freeman? He’s the one who drawls “you-tilities bought nuclear plants like they were ah-tems in a Sears Roebuck Cata-lowg”.

Boxer and Freeman, saucer people if you ask me.

Short on facts? Affected by trigger words? Just lash out at people, works for AM radio.

Boxer Boxer Boxer Boxer Boxer

Liberals make fun of the Tea Party kooks, then do the same lame stuff with no evidence. They just follow their leaders, protesting nuclear because they are told.

People like to “belong” to groups and do fun protests together. It is human nature. But you owe it to yourself to check the facts you are being asked to protest.

Contact or join Californians for Green Nuclear Power. We check facts, like the splendid, safe, use of nuclear power by the US Navy for 60 years with not one injury from the nuclear reactors on board subs and air craft carriers. Imagine our country making all our electricity from clean, safe nuclear power as they Navy has. They got protested, too, at first and said “Bunk” and went on to their tremendous success with nuclear power.

Time for these protesters to go away permanently. Write your County Supervisors (like Gibson who is anti nuke), Boxer, Feinstein (pro nuclear) and your State Assembly person (Katcho) and Senator Jackson. We must let these reps know there are sensible people our here, or all the government reps hear is from the well heeled protesters.

You might check facts, but you seem to repeat lies.

Lies and damn lies. Your whole premise is based on a lie. Check the record, beyond the Navy’s officially whitewashed record. Or keep your head in the sand, it’s your choice.


And another big lie perpetrated on the public for purposes of enhancing and

enriching the Nuke industry in their fearless pursuit of profit is the notion

of fluoride being good for your health.And ironically enough fluoride was

another brain child of the Nuclear industry.

The idea that the waste dumped into water supplies was so “low level” as to

be completely harmless is likely dubious and hopeful at best. Fluoride,

a by-product of the nuclear power industry, was one of those constituents,

and was transformed from being known as a rat poison to being known as a

dental benefit by the original spin doctor and propagandist,

Edward Bernays.

In his book The Fluoride Deception, author Christopher Bryson revealed

how the nuclear industry also used fluoridation of the public water supply as

a means of secretly dumping industrial waste after fluoride was a major

by-product in the uranium enrichment process for building the atomic bomb.

Bryson told Democracy Now:

The Manhattan Project needed fluoride to enrich uranium. That’s how they

did it. The biggest industrial building in the world, for a time, was the fluoride

gaseous diffusion plant in Tennessee the Manhattan Project and

Dr. Hodge as the senior toxicologist for the Manhattan Project, were

scared stiff less that workers would realize that the fluoride they were

going to be breathing inside these plants was going to injury them and

that the Manhattan Project, the key — the key of U.S. Strategic power

in the Cold War Era, would be jeopardized because the Manhattan Project

and the industrial contractors making the atomic bomb would be facing

all these lawsuits from workers, all these lawsuits from farmers living

around these industrial plants and so Harold Hodge assures us that fluoride

is safe and good for children.

More recently, an Associated Press investigation found in 2011 that

48 of 65 nuclear sites in the United States were leaking tritium, a

radioactive form of hydrogen, into groundwater supplies via corroded

pipes and tunnels. AP found at least 37 locations were in direct violation

of federal drinking water standards for tritium, in some cases hundreds

of times over.

And you can see a pattern here of lies and deceit when money is involved

because the oil industry is saying the very same thing about Fracking being


And still another irony is fracking actually came about as an answer to how

to get rid of the waste produced by the Nuclear Industry inject it into the

ground, out of sight out of mind. Brilliant.



Oh by the Way, Freeport McMoRan is injecting waste water into our aquifer

in Price Canyon and it will contaminate our ground water.

California Orders Oil Companies To Stop Drilling Near Drinking Water

Supplies. There are 532 wells on this illegal waste water injection list. 11

of those are at the Price Canyon Facility.

Our Board of Supervisors maybe doesn’t get it. Like they didn’t get Diablo.

Permit to inject waste water into the aquifer and Pismo creek has to be

denied. Some people you just can’t trust because they are not trustworthy.

Oil is one of those people and you can add them to the people mentioned in

this article and a real pattern of deceit and reason to say NO deals


I am sorry about the weird formatting on this. I really don’t know why

it is doing it..

p.s. San Luis Obispo is the only city in the county that still adds fluoride

to the drinking water. Time to revisit that practice?

Time to change the aluminum foil hat.

OH. MY. GOD. Shut the place down now! How can we ignore someone like Damon Moglen who is a Senior Strategic Advisor? He is so smart. Please don’t write him off as some idiot. You know, like the idiots that made money off the Global Warming scam?

Most likely as the ONLY commenter living completely off the power grid from solar, I can say this…

We NEED Nuclear power…its the solution not the problem.

No, Nuclear power is no longer cost effective (new plants).

Your special status is irrelevant.

Rich in MB doesn’t trust the Government but thinks Big Business cares about Rich and will take good care of him, give him a “safe” reactor.

No, it was built by the lowest bidder, as they all are.

Not true…nuk power is safer than a dirty coal powered electric car. Facts is facts.

As is often the case, I think that the truth is somewhere in between. While nuclear power is certainly safer than coal or oil powered electricity, it is less safe than solar or wind. The problem is that we don’t have and can’t build enough solar and wind-powered electrical generating capacity to replace even coal and oil in a reasonable time frame.

On one hand, these claims are worrying. On the other, the source makes them suspect. I will just have to wait and see what comes out from a more objective source.

Safer? No that’s your opinion, not a fact.

Since we don’t NEED electricity, we also don’t need nuclear. We WANT electricity for our lifestyles, that’s the really the core issue here. We COULD live like Mennonites, but we choose not to.

Nuke power has not made economic sense since TMI. Utilities build and run them through government subsidy. Fuel reprocessing? Most people think it’s illegal in the US, but it’s not, it’s just not profitable, and since there’s no subsidy for that, we don’t do it.

That said, the solar-wind crowd is living a dream. Solar and wind CANNOT power a 24-7 culture that is growing exponentially, not without some kind of paradigm-shifting discovery.

Anti-nuke groups may be well-intentioned, but they are some of the least informed people when it comes to the very thing they protest. They should at least get an education on how the plants actually work!

The paradigm shift is already here and being fought by the utilities, and that is localized power. That is, you produce the power you need in your home or neighborhood or business, and if you need to buy extra you purchase it from another nearby localized producer. This eliminates a huge amount of environmental problems as well as loss over the grid.

This is a great idea! Of course, anything with the word paradigm in it has to be a great idea. So, let me think this one through. Right now the “public” utility (PG&E for us) has a monopoly on selling non-locally produced electrical power. Since they have a monopoly, they are regulated by the Public Utilities Commission. PG&E has to provide electricity 24/7 between a minimum and maximum voltage (power quality) for a guaranteed rate (PUC approved rate schedules). Now, if we produced all the power locally we don’t need PG&E’s overhead power distribution system so we can take that down and not pay for the overhead power distribution maintenance (PG&E bill). So now we generate our own power. How do we do that? Solar panels, of course. What about at night? What about when we want more power than our solar panels can produce (like running the washing machine)? Oh yea, we buy it from our neighbors. Wait. The neighbors want way too much for the power. THAT’S NOT FAIR! It cost me so much less from PG&E! What happened? This seemed like such a good paradigm. NOW MY NEIGHBOR WON’T SELL ME ANY MORE POWER! I AM JUST GOING TO RUN MY HONDA GENERATOR WITHOUT THE MUFFLER ON! THAT WILL SHOW HIM! Now, where can I buy gas for my Honda generator? Oh right. From my neighbor or from the oil well in my back yard.

Global Warming scam? OMG. We are doomed with citizens like this.

Wow. Seriously misguided.

What do you expect from a group founded on the “anti nuclear” idea, not the “safe nuclear” idea.

I don’t trust the Government to regulate the Nuclear power industry.

But I do trust them to:

The US Healthcare Industry

The Internet


Water supply and resources

and oh ya…Japanese internment camps and Tea Party Persecution at the IRS.

When will the Big Government Progressives learn?

EPIC statement! So true. Thank you for that!

Epic? No, not a particularly impressive, remarkable or true statement.

It is sad, the sorry state of the education system and the resulting “understanding” of the students.

Right because you want to bring your anti government off topic comments into every local news post.

Haters are going to hate.

And people caught without an argument play the “hater card”….thats bkw you know you beat a progressive liberal in an argument, they either call you a racist or hater..ha ha ha…

Don’t forget their favorite mantra “denier”. Rich you are spot on the mark. Oh, I forgot “flat earther”, and yes I’m aware there’s no such word as “earther”. Visit some of the weather hysterics bed wetter blogs in the liberal press and you’ll see this non word used frequently. But alas, aren’t they the smartest people in the room? Well of course, just ask that intellectual titan Barbara (box of rocks) Boxer.

a racist or hater, you must get that a lot with all of the off topic insults.

Do you knees ever get dislocated with all that reflexive jerking? So far all you have done is make personal attacks and have not provided any facts with evidence

Oh please, your platitudes are so yesterday.