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In the Matter of:


AB 1632 Nuclear Power Plant Assessment

Docket No. 07-AB-1632

NOTICE OF
COMMISSION WORKSHOP

 

Notice of Commission Workshop on the
AB 1632 Nuclear Power Plant Assessment

The California Energy Commission (Energy Commission) will conduct a public workshop to review the draft study plan for the Nuclear Power Plant Assessment required by Assembly Bill 1632 (Blakeslee, Chapter 722, Statutes of 2006). AB 1632 requires the Energy Commission to complete an assessment, using existing scientific studies, of the vulnerabilities of these plants to a major disruption due to a seismic event or plant aging, to assess the potential impacts of such a disruption and the costs and impacts from nuclear waste accumulating at the state's operating nuclear plants, and to evaluate other key policy and planning issues regarding the future role of California's existing nuclear plants in the state's energy portfolio. Public input provided at the workshop or in writing will be considered in finalizing the study plan for the AB 1632 Assessment.

The workshop will be held on:

WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 12, 2007
Starting at 9 a.m.
CALIFORNIA ENERGY COMMISSION
1516 Ninth Street
First Floor, Hearing Room A
Sacramento, California

(Wheelchair Accessible)

Audio from this hearing will be broadcast over the Internet.
For details, please go to: www.energy.ca.gov/webcast/
To arrange for a call in order to participate in the meeting,
please call (888) 889-1957 by 9:00 a.m.
Passcode: [AB 1632] Call Leader: [Barbara Byron]

Purpose

California's two operating nuclear power plants, Diablo Canyon and the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (SONGS), contribute a significant portion of California's electricity supply. These plants are located in seismically active zones along California's central and southern coast. In addition, they generate spent nuclear fuel, which will be stored at the plants indefinitely until the federal government develops a permanent means for nuclear waste disposal.

AB 1632 directs the Energy Commission to complete an assessment, based on existing scientific studies, of the vulnerabilities of these plants to a major electrical supply disruption caused by a major seismic event or plant aging, the potential impacts of such a disruption, the costs and impacts from waste accumulating at these plants, and other major issues related to the future role of these plants in the state's electricity supply system.

The draft study plan for the AB 1632 Assessment will be posted on the Energy Commission's website [http://www.energy.ca.gov/ab1632/documents/] and presented at the workshop.

Background

Since the 1970s, the debate over the future of nuclear power in California has focused on concerns about the disposal of high-level nuclear wastes (spent fuel) generated by nuclear power plants, seismic issues, safety and security risks, economic costs, and environmental impacts. The California Legislature enacted laws in 1976 requiring operational and approved high-level nuclear waste disposal and fuel reprocessing options before construction of additional nuclear plants could occur in California. The Energy Commission was charged with evaluating those options and ultimately concluded that no operational and approved federal waste disposal or fuel reprocessing options existed. This finding was reaffirmed in 2005 and in 2007 in the Energy Commission's Integrated Energy Policy Reports.

California utilities are responsible for the safe storage of spent fuel from the operating nuclear plants until the federal government builds a permanent national repository for the disposal of highly radioactive wastes. In addition, California consumers have paid, since enactment of the federal Nuclear Waste Policy Act as amended in 1987, over $1.4 billion to support federal efforts to develop a program for the permanent disposal of spent nuclear fuel. Because of continued delays in the federal program for developing a national waste repository at Yucca Mountain, spent fuel must be retained indefinitely at nuclear power plant sites. Since California reactors are unable to transfer spent fuel offsite, the utilities are reconfiguring their onsite spent fuel storage pools and building onsite dry storage casks. This imposes costs and potential risks on California ratepayers.

AB 1632 requires the following analyses to be completed:

  • An assessment of the potential vulnerability of Diablo Canyon and SONGS to a major disruption due to a major seismic event;
  • An assessment of the potential vulnerability of Diablo Canyon and SONGS to a major disruption due to plant aging;
  • An assessment of the impact of a major disruption at Diablo Canyon or SONGS on system reliability, public safety, and the economy;
  • An assessment of the state and local costs and impacts from the accumulating waste at California's nuclear plants in the absence of a long-term, permanent federal waste disposal solution for these wastes; and
  • An assessment of other key policy and planning issues affecting the future role of operating nuclear power plants in the state.

The Energy Commission must adopt the AB 1632 Assessment by November 1, 2008, and include this in the 2008 IEPR Update report. The Energy Commission must also periodically update its analysis to the extent new seismic hazard studies are issued.

Workshop Participation and Comments

The Committee is seeking the active participation of interested parties in discussing the study plan for the AB 1632 Assessment. Interested parties are encouraged to present their views either orally at the workshop or through written comments. If you wish to present your comments at this workshop, you may contact Barbara Byron at (916) 654-4976 or by e-mail at [bbyron@energy.state.ca.us] by December 10, 2007. Requests for participation on the day of the workshop will be accommodated to the extent that time allows. Staff will also take general comments from the public immediately following the presentations.

The Committee encourages interested parties to submit written comments in advance of the workshop, but no later than 5:00 p.m. on December 21, 2007. Please include the docket number, No. 07-AB-1632, "AB 1632 Assessment" and indicate AB 1632 Assessment in the subject line or initial paragraph of your comments. Those submitting written comments by electronic mail should provide the comments in either Microsoft Word format or Portable Document Format (PDF), but parties must also submit one paper copy to the Energy Commission's Dockets Unit.

E-mail comments should be sent to [docket@energy.state.ca.us]. Please include your name or your organization's name in the name of the file. Those submitting written comments by hard copy only must provide an original plus 10 paper copies to the Energy Commission's Dockets Unit.

Please send or deliver materials to:

California Energy Commission Dockets Unit
Re: Docket No. 07-AB-1632
1516 Ninth Street, MS-4
Sacramento, CA 95814-5512

Alternatively, workshop participants may provide an original paper copy and 10 copies at the beginning of the workshop. All written materials relating to this workshop will be filed with the Dockets Unit and will become part of the public record in this proceeding.

Additional Information

The Energy Commission's Public Adviser's Office provides the public assistance in participating in Energy Commission proceedings. If you would like information on how to participate in these workshops, please contact the Public Adviser's Office by phone at (916) 654-4489 or toll-free at (800) 822-6228, by FAX at (916) 654-4493, or by e-mail at [pao@energy.state.ca.us]. If you have a disability and require assistance to participate in this hearing, please contact Lou Quiroz at (916) 654-5146 at least five days before the workshop.

Please direct questions regarding the AB 1632 Assessment to Barbara Byron, Program Manager, at (916) 654-4976 or by email at [bbyron@energy.state.ca.us]. Please direct all news media inquiries to Claudia Chandler, Assistant Executive Director, at (916) 654-4989, or by e-mail at [mediaoffice@energy.state.ca.us].

The service list for the AB 1632 Assessment proceeding is handled electronically. Notices and documents for these proceedings are posted to the Energy Commission website at [http://www.energy.ca.gov/2007_energypolicy/].

When new information is posted, an e-mail will be sent to those on the energy-policy and electricity e-mail list servers. We encourage those who are interested in receiving these notices to sign up for the energy policy list server through the website [http://www.energy.ca.gov/listservers/].

Date: November 26, 2007

JAMES D. BOYD
Commissioner and Vice Chair
State Liaison Officer to the
Nuclear Regulatory Commission

Date Posted: November 27, 2007
Mail Lists: energy policy, electricity, nuclear