Mothers for Peace seeking to speed up Diablo Canyon closure
September 16, 2016
In a bid to force the closure of Diablo Canyon power plant prior to the planned shutdown dates of 2024 and 2025, San Luis Obispo Mothers for Peace is attempting to intervene in California Public Utilities Commission (PUC) hearings. Mothers for Peace argues PG&E is using the imminent closure of the nuclear plant to evade regulatory requirements and necessary safety upgrades.
Ojai-based attorney Sabrina Venskus filed a motion to allow Mother’s for Peace to participate in PUC hearings on the plan to close Diablo Canyon. The filing lists several power plant upgrades PG&E is allegedly neglecting and argues an earlier closure would be economically beneficial to California residents.
If PG&E were to go ahead with the plant upgrades, the utility would pass on unreasonable costs to ratepayers, Mothers for Peace argues.
Mothers for Peace reports that the stator, or stationary portion of the Unit 2 steam generator at Diablo Canyon, is in need of major repairs. However, PG&E does not plan to replace the stator before the planned 2025 shutdown, Mothers for Peace states. A new stator is estimated to cost between $84 million to $151 million.
Additionally,the NRC rates the Unit 1 pressure vessel to be among the five most brittle reactors in the United States, according to Mothers for Peace. PG&E applied for and was granted an exemption to the mandated 10-year inspection of the vessel, delaying the inspection until 2025.
Mothers for Peace argues an extraordinarily dangerous threat would be posed to California if a cold shutdown caused the pressure vessel to crack. Also, if the vessel were to fail, the financial burden would be more than ratepayers could withstand, Mothers for Peace states.
The anti-Diablo Canyon organization also argues the nuclear plant can be closed sooner as a result of the rapid rise in the availability of solar, wind and geothermal energy, as well as rapid innovation in energy storage capacity.
In a separate development on Thursday, a group of mayors from six San Luis Obispo cities filed a request with the PUC to reject the current Diablo Canyon closure plan. The mayors argue the current plan does not adequately mitigate the economic impact of the nuclear plant closing. [Business Times]
The cities of Arroyo Grande, Atascadero, Morro Bay, Paso Robles, Pismo Beach and San Luis Obispo do not oppose the closure of Diablo Canyon. However, the mayors argue PG&E has not adequately involved their cities in the closure process and the utility is not planning on compensating local agencies enough for lost tax revenue.
In the filing, the mayors state the amount of money PG&E has proposed paying to local governments to mitigate the loss of income and tax revenue is inadequate because local property taxes alone during that period are estimated to total $200 million. PG&E has proposed paying $49.5 million in compensation to San Luis Obispo County over a nine-year period.