Date: Tue, 10 Apr 2007 19:58:12 -0700

From: "Russell 'Ace' Hoffman" <>
Subject: I oppose AB-719: The current nukes are bad enough; we don't
  want new ones!

April 10th, 2007

Dear Readers,

Some Californians want to start building nukes again.  The rest of us have to stop them.

Years ago, Californians passed a law specifically prohibiting utility companies from building new nuclear power plants in the state until the "high-level nuclear waste problem" is solved.

The waste problem is NOT solved, not even close.  And the four nukes we have are old and undergoing major rebuilding just so they can make MORE nuclear waste for another twenty or thirty years -- or more.  The cost?  Billions of dollars per reactor.

And, while large and expensive parts such as steam condensers, miles of cabling, and hundreds of pumps are being replaced, thousands of old and rusted parts are NOT being replaced.  These practically new (and thus ILLEGAL) nukes are the same old, tired designs.  Many CRITICAL safety components are the same old rusted garbage they've been replacing when it fails for years -- if the failure is obvious.  A lot of times, they don't notice until they need it.

The spirit of the law is being violated as we speak, and now they want to take the law away completely!

Yucca Mountain, the permanent nuclear waste storage facility located in Nevada and planned for the past 20 years or so -- is just a typical "drive it down the road and dump it on Native American Indian land" solution.  It is NOT a technological marvel.  It's nearly completely stalled anyway, and rightly so.  It's a boondoggle.

Solving the nuclear waste problem is a PHYSICAL IMPOSSIBILITY, not a mere technicality, not a complex engineering hurdle, not a bureaucratic fumble.  They are not just short on funds.  Nor are they short on "great minds" who have worked on the problem all their professional lives.

Nor are they short on things they've already tried which have already failed.  For example, new studies show that glass vitrification of low-level nuclear waste is probably going to be about 1% as durable as expected.  ONE PERCENT!

The problem with the nuclear waste problem is that it's "intractable" -- and NO scientist has ANY PLAN which is workable.  That's because when you get right down to the science of the matter, there is NO physical barrier which can be built which will keep radiation out (or in).  There is no safe place to put it.  There isn't even a transportation method safe enough to get all the waste safely to this mythical safe storage location.  It's not just DIFFICULT, it's IMPOSSIBLE.  It has taken decades to ADMIT utter failure and most politicians don't admit it yet.  But solving the nuclear waste problem has, in fact, been an UTTER FAILURE.

The solution is NOT to change the law!  That's no way to admit defeat!  The solution is to stop creating MORE nuclear waste.  Period.

Instead, now that the Spent Fuel Pools are packed like sardines, nuclear waste is being off-loaded into "dry casks" at the nuke plant locations.  These casks are NOT designed to be permanent, but they cannot be moved.  (To move the fuel later, a dangerous repacking operation will have to be done.)  And these dry casks will, over the life of the radioactive waste they contain, have to be replaced HUNDREDS of times -- a cost not calculated by the utilities, since EACH CASK is supposed to last several decades, maybe as much as a hundred years -- and the utilities are not required to calculate the costs of ANYTHING further out than a few decades.

They don't know what condition the fuel rods will be when the casks are opened (there are no remote monitoring cameras inside the casks), but I doubt anyone at Southern California Edison or Pacific Gas & Electric really cares -- they figure they'll be retired, if not long dead, when the quap starts to leak.

In the meantime, the spent fuel casks are vulnerable both to terrorism and to the hazards of mother nature.  Airplanes can fall on them by accident as well as on purpose.  The ensuing unquenchable fire will probably cause secondary meltdowns at the reactors they are near, since no one will be able to come close enough, and survive long enough, to shut the reactors down safely.

New dry casks are needed every couple of WEEKS in California, just to hold newly created waste from the four nuclear power plants we've already got.  And now they want to build more nuclear power plants!

But in order to do so, the law in California must be amended.   If it is, THOUSANDS of dry casks will be needed, and EACH ONE will be an environmental catastrophe just waiting to get out.  EACH ONE will be able to destroy tens of thousands of square miles of property, and kill millions.

With a corrupt, nuke-crazy federal government promising to hand out TENS OF BILLIONS OF DOLLARS in funding to any community crazy enough to want to build a nuclear power plant, naturally, somebody wants the money.

Oppose AB-719 like your life depended on it.  Because it might.


Ace Hoffman
Carlsbad, CA

Send your comments (including, if you like, this letter) TODAY to:

"Chairwoman Hancock" <>

Comments are apparently needed "yesterday, if not sooner."  There will be a California Energy Commission meeting on AB 719 next Monday, April 16th, 2007 in Sacramento.  Comments may also be faxed to the C.E.C. at: (916) 319 2192.