Californians Urge PG&E and Other Utilities to Immediately Develop Community Nuclear Energy Preparedness Programs in California in Response to Past Oversights and Negligence
On April 8th (two days preceding PG&E‟s April 10th letter to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission asking it to delay its Diablo Canyon plant license renewal), a coalition of California groups urged the California Public Utilities Commission and the utilities to immediately commence preparedness for any potential nuclear energy disaster. In the letter by Black Economic Council, the Latino Business Chamber of Greater LA and the National Asian American Coalition, they urged investigation that will bring assurance to Californians that “(a) nuclear reactors in California are fully safe and (b) should there be a crisis, such as occurred in Japan, we are fully prepared to address the crisis.”
The three community groups are unlikely allies in supporting nuclear energy so long as it is safe, as set forth in their letter. The letter focuses on PG&E‟s Diablo Canyon nuclear plant and the Edison and SDG&E‟s San Diego and San Onofre nuclear plants. This focus is related to growing ratepayer concerns, as demonstrated by the September 9th PG&E San Bruno gas explosion, that the utilities may not be as careful as they claim or understand the problems to the degree previously thought.
The groups, after meetings commencing this week with the California Public Utilities Commission, will then raise comparable issues with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
Len Canty, Chairman of the Black Economic Council said, “On April 5th, we warned the California Public Utilities Commission during its public hearing on the PG&E San Bruno gas explosion that far more had to be done to protect public safety and on April 8th, we warned PG&E and the California Public Utilities Commission that the gross negligence at San Bruno may also exist regarding PG&E‟s Diablo Canyon plant. After initial meetings with the CPUC on our letter urging community preparedness, we will begin to work with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission on what we referred to as community preparedness and education that the Japanese apparently ignored.”
Jorge Corralejo, Chairman of the Latino Business Chamber of Greater Los Angeles said, ”Our organization favors safe nuclear energy as an alternative to fossil fuels, but not if it means jeopardizing our wellbeing as occurred in Japan. We will therefore be examining not just PG&E‟s Diablo Canyon plant, but the San Onofre nuclear plants operated by Edison and SDG&E as well.”
Faith Bautista, President and CEO of the National Asian American Coalition said, “Four dozen of our members attended the recent San Bruno explosion hearings to urge community education and preparedness, should there be another disaster. Even more important, we must be prepared for the „one in one-thousand‟ disaster potential of aging nuclear plants.”
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