Nuclear Power Plant Safety

Resolution Number 11-04.92

WHEREAS the massive earthquake and tsunami in Japan caused great damage to its residents and facilities, including the Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear power plant, a boiling water reactor with Mark I containment structures particularly susceptible due to its design to accidently releasing radiation when cooling is lost; and these events have had implications for all nuclear facilities, including the need for reevaluating emergency plans, including the need for an expanded zone of warning and potential evacuation, and the risk of failure of back-up generators, cooling pools and storage systems for spent fuel rods, and

WHEREAS the Nuclear Regulatory Commission's Japan Task Force report released in July, 2011 declared that a sequence of events like the Fukushima accident is unlikely to occur in the United States and that plants can be operated safely and that continued operation and continued licensing activities do not pose an imminent risk to the public health and safety,but it also found that the regulatory process needs to be improved, and made numerous specific recommendations, including upgrading plants design-based seismic and flooding protection of reactor structures and components, strengthen existing reactors abilities to deal with loss of power in the event of earthquake, tsunami, floods and other disasters, require that emergency plans address prolonged blackouts, require additional instrumentation and seismically protected systems to provide additional cooling water to spent fuel rods if necessary, and other recommendations to significantly enhance safety;  California law prohibits constructing new nuclear power plants until a federal long-term waste disposal repository is operational and the federal government has refused to proceed with plans for a permanent repository of waste at Yucca Mountain yet has been collecting money from rate payers, and the California Energy Commission recommends the state develop  a framework to review the costs, benefits and risks of nuclear plant licensing extensions, the long term implications of the accumulation of spent fuel at operating plants, the adequacy of California's nuclear transport fees and federal funding to cover the costs of fuel shipments, and

WHEREAS, 23 nuclear reactors in the U.S. are boiling water Mark I reactors that may have inherent design flaws and while neither San Onofre nor Diablo Canyon plants are boiling water Mark I reactors, both are located adjacent to known earthquake faults and new technology exists that will assist in the ability to determine if there are additional geologic risks, and this information should be essential for the NRC in assessing geologic risk for any relicensing process,

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the California Democratic Party calls upon the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to implement the recommendations of its Japan Task Force, that the NRC obtain and evaluate  the results of 3D seismic testing before reaching a final decision on any licensing renewals of plants near earthquake faults, that the NRC take additional steps including decommissioning of Mark 1 boiling water reactors if they are unable to correct safety problems as a result of design flaws and that public and private energy providers work with local, state and  federal agencies to provide emergency plans for populations up to 50 miles from nuclear plants, and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the California Democratic Party asks the Public Utilities Commission to ensure that independently conducted seismic studies are performed on both San Onofre and Diablo Canyon plants and use the PUC authority to require that emergency preparedness plans are modified to reflect the Japanese experience, that we support developing a framework in California for dealing with nuclear power plant accidents and adopt, where feasible, the recommendations of the California Energy Commission as noted above, we reaffirm our support for and encourage the PUC, the CEC and local governments to facilitate and require greater reliance on solar, wind, geothermal, and other non-fossil fuel sources which do not carry the same risks as nuclear power plants, and communicate this resolution to the Governor and Democratic state and federal legislators from California.


Adopted by the California Democratic Party
At its July 2011 Executive Board Meeting
Sheraton Park Hotel, Anaheim
July 31, 2011




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