Help stop new atomic reactors in California
Dear Friends in California:
On April 16th 2007, there will be a hearing in the California legislature on a bill to lift the current ban on siting new reactors in the state.
Your opposition to this bill is important. Below is a sample letter to the relevant committee. The committee would prefer faxed letters: the fax number is 916 319 2192.
If faxes are not possible for you, you can e-mail your comments to firstname.lastname@example.org
For more information, contact Rochelle Becker of the Alliance for Nuclear Responsibility at email@example.com.
Thanks for your help!
Nuclear Information and Resource Service
Dear Chairwoman Hancock
I(WE) am writing in opposition to AB 719, Assemblyman Devore’s bill to lift California’s ban on the siting of new nuclear plants in California. In 1976 our state had the foresight to question the federal government’s ability to create a permanent and safe solution for long term storage of high-level radioactive waste. To undermine this protective legislation could have serious health and economic impacts to California residents—on whose fragile and seismically active coasts radioactive waste continues to accumulate.
AB 719 states that:
(f) Current California law prohibits the permitting of any new commercial nuclear powerplants until an approved means of disposal of high-level nuclear waste becomes available. With federal efforts well underway to provide an approved means of high-level nuclear waste disposal, and given that timelines for nuclear powerplant design, permitting, construction, on line operation, and first refueling would likely be in excess of 10 years, by the time a powerplant would be ready for operation, an approved high-level nuclear waste disposal means will be available.
The current ban, PRC 25524.2, which AB 719 seeks to overturn, states that there can be no new nuclear power plants sited in California until:
(a) The commission (California Energy Commission) finds that there has been developed and that the United States through its authorized agency has approved and there exists a demonstrated technology or means for the disposal of high-level nuclear waste.
As of this date, none of those conditions have been met. The Federal government has been trying—for a quarter of a century—since the passage of the Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1982, to wrestle with the unwieldy problem of radioactive waste. When the author of AB 719 writes, “With federal efforts well underway to provide an approved means of high-level nuclear waste disposal…” one wonders where the facts are to back up this assumption. The only solution on the table, the Yucca Mountain national repository, has been mired in scientific, administrative and political problems for decades. The Department of Energy has yet to even set a date on which it will submit its application for approval by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, and the NRC may be a long way from granting that application, as evidenced by these statements from the Las Vegas Review-Journal of January 23rd, 2007:
Ed McGaffigan, a veteran member of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, said Monday that the Yucca Mountain program is deeply flawed and that the Nevada nuclear waste site should be scrapped.
"It may be time to stop digging, and it may be time to rethink," McGaffigan said in a critique of the Energy Department program as he prepares to retire from the five-member commission that regulates nuclear safety….
"I think Yucca Mountain has been beset by bad law, bad regulatory policy, bad science policy, bad personnel policy, bad budget policy throughout its history," McGaffigan said. "Every time somebody has done something to try to speed things up, it has backfired….
"Each year that passes, we are not going to get any closer to Yucca under the current circumstances," McGaffigan said.
It is therefore, at this time, wholly inappropriate to consider lifting the moratorium on new nuclear power plants in California, as conditioned by PRC 25524.2.
I (WE) urge that this bill, AB 719, be opposed and rejected.
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