City council asks governor to close unsafe nuclear power plants

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In a nearly unanimous vote, the Berkeley City Council has decided to urge Gov. Jerry Brown to decommission two of the state’s nuclear power plants, which some say pose a hazard if allowed to operate.

The council voted eight to one to call on the governor to ask the state’s Public Utilities Commission to replace aging reactors at the Diablo Canyon and San Onofre power plants in Southern California with renewable energy by the time the current licences expire.

Almost 80 people gathered outside of the council chambers prior to the 7 p.m. meeting for a rally against the two reactors, as well as nuclear power in general. Speakers talked about transitioning to other forms of energy in light of the tragic events in Fukushima, Japan last year.

“The nuclear industry is built on fraud, lies, deception and cutting corners,” said Bob Meola, commissioner of the Berkeley Peace and Justice Commission. “People practice safe sex … we demand that our state practice safe energy policies.”

The council heard from President of the Committee to Bridge the Gap and UC Santa Cruz Nuclear Policy Lecturer Dan Hirsch, who addressed what he sees as “a pretty substantial crisis” in the state. According to Hirsch, Monday’s Nuclear Regulatory Commission meeting revealed long-established issues with both Diablo Canyon and San Onofre.

The latter — located in San Diego county — has been shut down since December due to a radioactive leak in one of its steam generators which released a small amount of radioactive gas due to unusually fast degradation of recently-installed steam generator tubes. Hirsch cited the nuclear plant’s “troubled safety culture,” giving several examples of the flaws which compromise its safety. For five years, the plant had not been carrying out hourly fire watches, a practice mandated around 30 years ago when inspectors discovered fire vulnerability issues. The plant was supposed to conduct the fire watches while the problem was being addressed.

“The company has created an environment in which workers are frightened to bring up safety complaints,” Hirsch said. “(The plant) is number one in the nation for the number of safety complaints.”

Diablo Canyon — located in San Luis Obispo county — is currently operating and also has its share of problems. According to Hirsch, before the construction of the reactor around 40 years ago, it was not determined whether or not there was a nearby offshore fault. A fault was, in fact, found during construction, which significantly increased the price of the project and poses an earthquake risk.

“I think it is very reasonable to urge this state to rapidly move to phase out those reactors,” Hirsch said at the meeting.

Hirsch, as well as Mayor Tom Bates, pointed out that Brown spoke out against nuclear power plants at the beginning of his career, and should be reminded of his past stance.

Although the council agreed they did not have the ability to make Brown shut down the reactors, there was a general consensus to urge the governor to direct the state commission which oversees nuclear power.

Councilmember Gordon Wozniak was the only dissenting member, cautioning the council that eliminating nuclear power in favor of other fuels may not be the best solution.

“There is an argument for nuclear power in the grand scheme of things,” Wozniak said. “It’s not correct to say that radioactivity isn’t organic. The way you tell something is organic is by looking for Carbon-14, which is radioactive. We live with radioactivity.”

Woznaik’s comments were met with loud dissent from the audience, many of whom warned the council that the tragic events of Fukushima could occur in California.

Wozniak said he objected to the fact that only one, non-technical commission has weighed in on the issue.

“Evaluating whether a reactor is going to survive (an earthquake) is a very complex technical problem,” Wozniak said. “Burning biofuels does not solve your problems. If you get rid of nuclear power … you’re going to make greenhouse gas emissions worse.”

Councilmember Max Anderson supported Wozniak’s comments, but maintained that nuclear energy “needs to be fazed out in a responsible way so that it is not replaced by coal and gas.”

The proposal also urges President Barack Obama to discontinue support for nuclear power by stopping loan guarantees to the nuclear energy industry, shutting down plants located in seismically-active areas and investing in clean energy. In addition, the council will also ask the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to “withhold license renewal” for the two power plants “until seismic issues and offsite permanent storage are resolved,” according to the resolution.

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  • Nuclear is a dying energy form. The economic cost and damage from nuclear energy will make an interesting history page into how humans damaged the planet and violated human health ethics.

  • CaptD

    California energy officials plan for life without San Onofre time, since SCE got caught making illegal modifications without the required NRC approvals…SORE (San Onofre Reactor Emergency) will result in a huge number of lawsuits as both ratepayers and the Utilities involved try and get someone else to pay the 500+ Million Dollars…

  • [More Bla Bla Bla

    Capt’s Corollary:Post more NEW comments instead of “wasting” time answering lame ones…]

    In other words, after pissing and moaning about everyone else, YOU can’t even deal with facts yourself. Come on now, you got into Chicken Little mode over some story about bluefin tuna, yet couldn’t even address why the subject of your article stated that claims of it being an immediate health hazard were irresponsible. You also failed to produce any useful information, as to what amount of bluefin needs to consumed to constitute a given hazard. In other words, your “comments” are nothing but fact-free emotive blathering. Sorry, but some of us deal in the real world and demand a bit more concrete evidence before getting worked up about something…

  • CaptD

    Please allow comments to be FLAGGED as unacceptable to promote the discussion.
    Comments that are Off Topic, name calling,  BAITING or just silly do not belong here!

    Otherwise your forum will not provide the discussion CA needs….

    • Oh, look at the crybaby. Given that you can’t even deal with facts, you’re the last one who should be complaining about the discussion here.

      • CaptD

        Tell It To The Editor…

        •  Evasion noted – you don’t want to deal with facts.

  • CaptD

    More real news:
    NRC Meeting on San Onofre June 18th

  • In case anyone gives a rat’s ass, CaptD is a certifiable wackjob who makes up definitions of Urban Dictionary relating to his nuclear-phobia (for which he receives primarily thumbs-down replies)  and has a similar spew of nonsense on that highly regarded objective website (snort, choke, giggle) the Huffington Post – yet even the majority of the HuffPo readers sense he’s a complete kook. The presence of his type in the city of Berkeley is merely one more reason that the rest of the nation doesn’t take the place seriously…

  • CaptD

    Top Cancer Doctor: Irresponsible to say cesium in California bluefin tuna is nothing to worry about comments

    •  How much  bluefin tuna do you need to eat to be at risk, dimwit?

      • Henry

        Look Tony, why don’t you go out to some bar, slug down some whiskey, and get in a good old fashioned FIGHT? It’ll do you a lot more good. And we who remain here can actually have a discussion. You know that’s all you want … just go get it, TIger!

    • CaptD
      •  “For somebody to say this is an immediate threat to large numbers of humans and their health is irresponsible,” Harbut said.

        See, I can play the same game as you by selectively picking what I wish to read.

        • CaptD

          Bon Appétit

          • I see you couldn’t refute anything I said, nor could you answer a simple, straightforward question. Yep, you’re another bedwetting Berkeley fruitcake, another prime example of why your town is the laughingstock of the country….

          • CaptD

            More Bla Bla Bla

            Capt’s Corollary:Post more NEW comments instead of “wasting” time answering lame ones…

  • [Now, why are they beating the pants off of us with solar?]

    They aren’t “beating the pants off us in solar”. Germany still imports over 60% of its energy needs, and most internal electrical generation is still from fossil fuels. You’re as clueless as CaptD.

  • [Yes they ARE leading the way and not only are they building the next
    generation (pun intended) of  “cleaner” coal but are also working to get
    off their nuclear habit ASAP]

    By buying nuke-generated electrical power from EDF, you clueless idiot. You think they’re generating power by burning baguettes and brie or what?

    • CaptD

      Anything is better than Nuclear Baloney*


      •  You still don’t get the fact that you’re fawning over Germany’s decision to shut down their nuke plants while they are still buying electricity on the EU grid supplied by French nuclear reactors. The fact that the reactors are not physically in Deustchland doesn’t mean that the Germans aren’t still using nukes. That little point seems to have gone way over that small head of yours…

      •  Ooh, quoting your own entry on Urban Dictionary as a reputable source, I see… and I notice you already have 9 thumbs down, fruitcake.

        • CaptD

          I guess you missed the 12 UP
          Name calling is so elementary school-ish….

          •  So you have 11 other handles. Go look at all the other nuke-related definitions you made up – most of them have more thumbs down than thumbs up.

  • CaptD

    Green house gases are “less” of a problem than nuclear radioactive pollution and or meltdowns.
    Ask The Japanese, that are not getting money from the nuclear industry!

    We can made California’s air cleaner and not use nuclear:

    • reztips

      If local lefties had their way, they would employ their flatulence as their green house gases. Come to think of it, that’s exactly what CaptD is doing. Hold your nose!

      • CaptD

        Far better to hold your nose than to hold your breath because of radioactive pollution!

        •  If you think that radiation enters the human body by people breathing, you’re even more of an idiot than I thought previously.

      • CaptD

        Other than name calling not much info here on topic!

  • CaptD

    Question, How would California pay for a Trillion Dollar Eco-Disaster like Fukushima?
    BTW: The Price Anderson Act tops out at 12 Billion, the rest is “our” problem….Where would folks relocate to, Yuma and Los Vegas?It is time for everyone in SoCal to realize that we have just been LUCKY So FAR, but there is nothing we can do to remove the threat of a nuclear reactor meltdown happening here except De-Commission SORE, then we will be able to live Nuclear Meltdown Free, SoCal is too good a place to become a Nuclear Waste “No Go” Zone.

    •  Your ignorance of the basic issues (and reason for the Fukushima meltdown) is obvious. You kooks don’t want nukes, and you don;t want fossil fuels. If you think we can provide California’s energy needs with wind, solar, and other “alternative” energy sources, then you are clearly deluding yourselves.

      • CaptD

        You know nothing about anyones ignorance and your comment is just glorified name calling!

        •  I know something about nukes, and understand that there are some fundamental differences in construction between Fukushima and California plants such as San Onofre. I’m also aware that California doesn’t have any workable alternative other than using fossil fuels to meet the state’s energy requirements.

          • CaptD

            California needs to start build additional non nuclear energy sources ASAP…
            Good for the State and great for our QOL because we will not have the RISK of having a Trillion Dollar Eco-Disaster which America cannot afford…

          •  Word up to Mister Clueless: the state of California is BROKE.

          • California does not need to gamble with nuclear energy to meet its energy needs.  We have an energy surplus even with out both Diablo Canyon and San Onofre. 
            “California has excess power without nuclear, according to data from the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), the California Energy Commission (CEC) and the electricity grid operator, the California Independent System Operator (ISO).
            This includes electricity needed for peak load periods in the summer as well as voltage and grid stability.”  So why the risk? 

          • I_h8_disqus

            We have an energy surplus, but it is from fossil fuels.  We don’t help our greenhouse situation if we just find more ways to burn fossil fuels.

      • CaptD

        I’m not a kook and you should not ASSUME because you like nuclear everyone else should also…
        Your line of thinking lead to Fukushima, Ask The Japanese!

        • You’re a kook, alright, if you think we can get by without fossil fuels or nukes.

          • CaptD

            More name calling?
            If Germany can do it so can the USA, we just have to start!

          •  As I mentioned before, Germany is buying electrical power from France (which still has nukes) as well as natural gas from Russia. Your premise that Germany is getting by on “green” technology is ludicrous, and merely an example of your own ignorance.

  • CaptD

    I wonder how many non Professional folks even knew about this meeting and if any were allowed to attend?California needs more openness and much less back door dealing when it come to Energy!

  • libsrclowns

    As long as the BCC is bloviating maybe they could take a stand on Moonbeam’s bullet train.

    After encountering criticism from environmental groups, Gov. Jerry Brown signaled Wednesday that he plans to withdraw his controversial proposal to protect the California bullet train project from injunctions sought by environmental lawsuits.
    Brown’s staff told key environmental groups that he would no longer include modifications to the California Environmental Quality Act in a package of legislation this month asking for $6 billion to start construction of the high-speed rail project.
    A spokesman for the governor declined to comment. State senators and their staffers confirmed the governor’s move.
    Sen. Joe Simitian (D-Palo Alto) said there wasn’t “a lot of stomach” for Brown’s proposal among his colleagues in the Legislature.
    Conn Carroll at the Washington Examiner outlines how the pro-train environmentalists’ unwillingness to obtain waivers protecting them from lawsuits from themselves may effectively put a bullet through the bullet train project:
    President Obama’s stimulus allocated $8 billion for high-speed rail projects, including, eventually, up to $3.5 billion for California’s project. However, according to the stimulus law, California must begin construction on the project before December 31, 2012 or they will not be eligible for any more high speed rail stimulus dollars. Obama’s Transportation Department reaffirmed this time limit last year when they admitted they had “no administrative authority to change this deadline.”
    Fast forward to this June when the city of Chowchilla filed suit to stop construction of the project alleging that the High Speed Rail Authority failed to conduct a proper Environmental Impact Statement pursuant to the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and the National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA).
    Studies show that the average time to complete the NEPA process is 6.1 years. And NEPA is designed to be a preventative statute. Federal courts routinely issue injunctions to stop projects before they ever begin. That is why oil companies preemptively sued environmental groups earlier this year over leases in Alaska. They wanted to get the litigation out of the way so they could begin oil exploration as fast as possible.
    Considering the hoops he’d have to jump through in California, Brown couldn’t even obtain the permits to construct a Lionel track around a Christmas tree before the December 31st deadline for keeping federal funding (heck, he probably couldn’t even get the permits for the tree by then).
    If the “train to nowhere” proponents could stop regulating others for a minute, pause for introspection and use this opportunity to help them understand why California is considered the worst state for business, the runaround might have been worth it. But that won’t happen.

    a dramatic re-enactment of California’s environmental laws coming back to bite the same people who support them.

  • Current student

    Bob Meola is an idiot

    • CaptD

      Name calling is the lowest form of argumentation…

      • reztips

        And sanctimonious rants on how green power will save us and that we don’t need other forms of power to keep the economy going now are the lowest form of ideological idiocy…

        • CaptD

          Tell that Nuclear Baloney* to the Germans that are now leading the World toward a clean and green NON Nuclear future and earning money doing it….

          •  By buying natural gas from Russia and nuke-generated electricity from EDF in France, dimwit.

          • CaptD

            DIMWIT is un-necessary, and realize that name calling is just one of the tactics that BULLIES use…

          • Not so fast..  
            “German solar power plants produced a world record 22 gigawatts of electricity – equal to 20 nuclear power stations at full capacity – through the midday hours of Friday and Saturday, the head of a renewable energy think tank has said.”

            Maybe Germany has been blessed with an exclusive contract with the  sun.  
            Lets look at the location facts… 
            Latitude/Longitude (Absolute Locations) 
            Berlin: (capital city) 52° 31′ N, 13° 24′ E 
            Dresden: 51° 3′ N, 13° 44′ E 
            Frankfurt: 50° 6′ N, 8° 40′ E 
            Munich: 48° 8′ N, 11° 34′ E 
            Kiel: 54° 19′ N, 10° 8′ E

            Hmmm what do we have in California could we be so lucky?

            Latitude/Longitude (Absolute Locations) Sacramento: (capital city) 38º 34′ N, 121º 29′ W San Francisco: 37° 46′ N, 122° 25′ WLos Angeles: (largest city) 34º 03′ N, 118º 14′ W
            San Diego: 32.7153° N, 117.1564° W

            Now, why are they beating the pants off of us with solar?
            You do the math.

          • I_h8_disqus

            They are not quite leading the way.  The shut down of a number of nuclear plants has caused an increase of about 25 million tons of carbon dioxide a year, because they are replacing the nuclear with fossil fuels.

          • CaptD

            Yes they ARE leading the way and not only are they building the next generation (pun intended) of  “cleaner” coal but are also working to get off their nuclear habit ASAP…

            That is Leadership, the sooner the Planet gets off first Nuclear
            … And then coal, the better and SAFER  for all of US!

            The USA cannot afford a Trillion Dollar Eco-Disaster like Fukushima, neither can the Planet…

          • I_h8_disqus

            We disagree.  You think getting rid of nuclear power now is more important than anything else.  I happen to think that I would rather keep the plants until we have alternate sources developed so we don’t need to burn more fossil fuels.  I would also like Berkeley to focus on its current problems instead of the unlikely event of southern California nuclear plants melting down.

          • Henry

            What in your opinion makes it unlikely? So unlikely as to be ignored …

          •  Thanks for trying to knock some sense into this CaptD character, but it doesn’t look like it’s working…

  •  Berkeley political hacks exhibiting the classic dysfunctional narcissism of the Left. They can’t do their own jobs, because they are spending too much time telling everyone else how to do theirs.

    • I_h8_disqus

      It does seem that the Daily Cal has shown us that there are a lot of things the council could focus on related to Berkeley.  For example, if the council focused on city planning, then they wouldn’t talk about putting bonds on the ballot, because they would have already had a savings plan developed that would have been growing to meet our needs to maintain pools and other capital.

      • CaptD

        You comment seems to suggest that discussing nuclear is somehow unimportant; how would you suggest CA deal with a meltdown at a CA reactor?  Is anything LESS important?

        • reztips

          CaptD, your comment is nothing short of foolish. Berkeley’s City Council have zero, zilch, nada impact upon virtually ANYTHING they recommend, be it the Peace and Justice Commission’s regular forays into foreign policy or, in this case, nuclear power. What a waste of taxpayers’ time!

          Speaking of a waste of time, the Peace and Justice Commision’s recommendations have regularly made Berkeley the laughingstock of the nation. It’s time this ideologically based travesty was abandoned so that our City Council could get on with the real local work with which it is charged…

          • CaptD

            Their views are just that “Their Views”, just what we in America need, more folks sharing their views instead of relying upon Experts (with vested interests) to make decisions; which is exactly what got Japan into a Trillion Dollar Eco-Disaster, something that the USA cannot afford, because it would create a fiscal disaster that would leave our Country in Third World Status!

          •  [just what we in America need, more folks sharing their views instead of relying upon Experts]

            And you don’t think that Al Gore, George Soros, and the rest of the crowd don’t have their OWN vested interests in energy policy?

            You’re one gullible little child….

          • CaptD

            to Tonym Yet more name calling, your assumptions are just silly!

          • CaptD

            Their “WORK” is providing for public safety, that means N☢ Meltdowns…

          •  Correction: their work is in providing for local, city-oriented services, not to function as a regulatory commission for the state of California. Your ignorance on a number of issues is rather apparent.

        • I_h8_disqus

          I am not saying it is unimportant.  I am saying that there are many things that are more important right now for Berkeley to deal with than an unlikely meltdown.  The city needs to prioritize its limited time and resources to deal with issues that are likely to happen instead of issues that will likely not happen.  Berkeley is in a mess right now, and it should be dealing with that mess instead of getting distracted.

          • CaptD

            Our Country, our State and our Local Gov’t. are all in a mess…

            BUT that said, having a nuclear meltdown will affect everyone,
            … Much more than anything else imaginable…

          • I_h8_disqus

            An attack from China or North Korea with nuclear weapons would affect us much more, and is more likely than a plant meltdown.  I think getting us ready for that should become your top priority.

          • CaptD

            Your opinion matters N☢T

          • I_h8_disqus

            Then what good was any of this discussion, because logically your opinion matters not either.  So all that you wrote about nuclear plant worries was completely worthless, because your opinion doesn’t matter.  A good liberal as opposed to a psychopath liberal would recognize that all the opinions matter for us getting to a solution.

          • Henry

            Nuclear fears are “distracting” pretty much anyone with a BRAIN. Why can’t Berkeley weigh in on this AND attend to its normal duties, huh???

    • Henry

      More hate-spewing. Why the hate?

  • One of the rarest things happened yesterday. One of America’s leading silver producers (Coeur d’Alene) decided to invest $3.5 million in a small company with no discount to the company’s share price. Very weird, as companies always invest with discounts to share prices. Here is the press release wire:

    • CaptD

      is this an AD?

      •  It’s spam, just like the majority of your comments…

  • I_h8_disqus

    “People practice safe sex … we demand that our state practice safe energy policies.”  That seems like what we do now.  Our current energy policies are as safe as sex with a condom.

    • CaptD

      I think right now it is the nuclear industry that is “having it’s way with US” without our permission…

      •  Just like right now you’re having your way with Mommy’s internet without her permission, right?

        • CaptD

          Mommy’s Internet?

          Ha Ha Ha, more silly comments…