The Alliance for Nuclear Responsibility leads successful effort to retain California’s nuclear safeguard laws.

Contact: Rochelle Becker (858) 337-2703
David Weisman (805) 704-1810

On April 7, 2008, Rochelle Becker, the executive director of the Alliance testified before California’s Assembly Natural Resource Committee in opposition to two bills that would have allowed new reactors to be sited in our state without the certification of the existence of an approved and demonstrated technology or means of disposal of high-level radioactive waste

“AB 1776 was a smokescreen that would have substituted California’s protective legislation passed over three decades ago for a law that assumed the state might allow construction of nuclear reactors in seismically active areas or in areas where once-through-cooling is acceptable.” Ms. Becker testified.

Simply put, a permanent means for safe disposal of high-level radioactive waste does not exist. Nuclear utilities are now storing high-level radioactive waste onsite in seismically active areas, even though the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s own policy discourages such sites.  Earthquake science is constantly evolving.  As recently as April 1, 2008, a 15-kilometer earthquake fault previous thought by the government of Japan and it’s Atomic Energy Agency to be inactive was reclassified as active.  In a state as seismically active as California a similar revelation could prove to be both costly and devastating to the state’s residents.

AB 2788 would have eliminated exclusive state power to certify all energy generation sites in California.  It would have removed one of the very few rights of our state to address the costs, benefits and risks of nuclear reactors.  Instead, it would allow the first entity to obtain an early site permit from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission without California Energy Commission or California Public Utility Commission approval.  For over three decades, those who have addressed the dangers of nuclear power generation have heard elected representatives respond that they full agree with our concerns, but are pre-empted from addressing these issues.  “To give up even one protective right to question the safety, security, seismicity and safe radioactive emissions from nuclear reactors is a disservice to state residents and an unconscionable decision for California’s future generations” stated Becker.

The Alliance for Nuclear Responsibility strongly supports union jobs and clean energy, but California cannot afford to again go down a nuclear path without analyzing all economic consequences of our actions.  At best this bill is premature until the analysis of the full costs, benefits and risks of continued reliance on nuclear reactors--as mandated by California’s legislature--is complete, adopted and implements.  AB 1776 would have resulted in reduced funding for our state’s precedent-setting clean energy policy.  Responsible energy policies are fundamental to a strong economy, and the “unknowns” surrounding this bill placed our economy and our energy supplies at risk.

In Peace

Rochelle Becker, Executive Director
Alliance for Nuclear Responsibility