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Diablo Canyon: Nuclear Power and Y2K


From: Bill Mueller <>
Subject: Diablo Canyon: Nuclear Power and Y2K
Date: Fri, 18 Jun 1999 12:58:29 -0700

Researcher Bob has been speaking to Mr. Ed over at Diablo Canyon here on
the Central Coast, our neck of the woods and I
can tell you there are at least two people kinda nervous about this idea.
But Bob had this available for ease and I wanted to share. Off to my son's
graduation, only once can you see them graduate from pre-school ;) Have a
good one.


6/18/99 Nuclear Power and Y2K
There have been several good articles of late on Y2K and nuclear power.
Many of the people we talk to are very confused about this whole Y2K and
electric power issue. The following is intended to help clear up some
of the confusion.

The NRC has required that all of the nuclear power plants disclose the
status of their Y2K readiness by July 1, 1999 (published on the NRC web
site at I spoke with Richard J. McCamish, Y2K
Communications Consultant for Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E),
and asked him detailed questions regarding the nuclear power plant owned
by PG&E (Diablo Canyon). This is a synopsis of what he said:

To his knowledge, the NRC, most likely, will not require potentially
non-compliant nuclear reactors to all shut down in July. This is a
simply a rumor that has been milling about. It is true that it takes
several months for a nuclear reactor core to cool down, but diesel
generators can maintain the cooling process over the transition to the
Year 2000. The summer months are the most demanding for electric power
in the US. The nuclear power plants throughout the US generate some 20%
of the electricity overall, and 40-50% of electricity for the east
cost. Taking these plants off line in the summer months would eliminate
any electricity reserve, and may even result in rolling brown outs or
power rationing. The NRC does have the authority to require that
non-Y2K compliant plants go off line, but would most likely schedule
this after the peek demand months.

Richard described in detail the status of the PG&E nuclear power plant
at Diablo Canyon. He stated that Diablo Canyon is almost ready. There
is one last procedure to perform on one of the reactors that will
complete its Y2K readiness. This procedure is scheduled for October
1999. There is a NRC official on site at Diablo Canyon is working with
PG&E to help manage and report on the Y2K upgrades.

The WorldNetDaily published an excellent article today on the Y2K
contingency plans for nuclear power generation (their second in a series
on nuclear power). According to the WorldNetDaily article, "?the NRC
developed a comprehensive contingency plan for dealing with "unforeseen"
Y2K problems at nuclear facilities." The article goes on to say, ""If
the grid goes down," explains NRC official Richard H. Wessman, "any
plant on that grid automatically trips -- it shuts down within seconds.
The routine way of shutting down takes the better part of a day. Diesels
would be used only to provide the water to cool the system. The intent
[with the diesels] is not to re-start the plant -- that won't happen
until the grid is operating again."

The NRC and NEI (Nuclear Energy Institute, the nuclear trade group
responsible for getting nuclear facilities Y2K-ready) plan to issue a
report in mid-July that summarized the Y2K readiness of the US nuclear
power plants.


Thanks again to Researcher Bob.