State Senate to probe seismic, nuclear safety

Hot on the heels of California’s U.S. Senators calling for inspections of the state’s two nuclear power plants in light of the still-unfolding nuclear crisis in Japan, the California State Senate is gearing up for an investigation of its own.

State Senate Majority Leader Ellen Corbett, D-San Leandro, announced today that the Senate Select Committee on Earthquake and Disaster Preparedness, Response, and Recovery will hold a hearing at 2:30 p.m. noon (time changed due to Senate floor session) this Monday, March 21, at the State Capitol to examine the damage caused in California by the tsunami after the earthquake in Japan and to explore the state’s preparedness; the hearing also will focus on the safety of the state’s nuclear power plants and natural gas infrastructure.

Representatives from San Onofre and the Diablo Canyon nuclear plants will testify, along with nuclear safety experts and the California Energy Commission. California’s two major natural gas operators and the California Public Utilities Commission will testify on the ability of our natural gas infrastructure to withstand a major seismic event.

California Emergency Management Agency Acting Secretary Mike Dayton and Secretary of Natural Resources John Laird will detail the response to the tsunami along California’s coast. And in response to concerns about radioactive fallout, the Department of Public Health will update lawmakers and the public on any necessary precautions.

Corbett was among 10 state lawmakers who wrote last month to the U.S. Energy Department’s Blue Ribbon Commission on America’s Nuclear Future, urging that it hold hearings in California on seismic safety.

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.

  • Elwood

    In the words of the illustrious Rahm Emanuel, “Never let a good crisis go to waste”.

    What next?

    An investigation by the Concord city council?

  • John W

    What next? An investigation by the Concord city council?

    More likely, an “all solar,” “all wind” resolution from the Berkeley council. Just imagine if we could harness flatulence power!