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Posted on April 30 at 8:51 p.m.
First, there were two votes in Sacramento County on Rancho Seco. One was in 1988. The public supported continued operation of Rancho Seco by a very narrow margin. The antis were able to get another ballot initiative scheduled for 1989. At the time of the 1989 vote, Rancho Seco was off-line repairing a auxiliary feedwater valve problem. The antis had manipulated the NRC into ordering a stop-work so their inspectors and consultants could investigate the root cause of the valve problem. In that environment, the 1989 ballot initiative was approved and Rancho Seco subsequently shutdown.
Second, the biggest supporter of the antis was Pacific Gas & Electric. PG&E had been unable to get DC-2 into the rate base because of an over-capacity on the grid in California in that era. The PG&E CEO made a public endorsement for closure of Rancho Seco in front of a SMUD Board of Director's meeting I attended in early 1988. This was the most despicable betrayal in the whole history of commercial nuclear power. The antis simply managed to transfer the benefits of owning and operating a nuclear plant from SMUD to the unseemly PG&E. Good job. The rolling brownouts of the early 2000s and the ENRON manipulation were possible because 800+ MWe of Rancho Seco in-state power at a key point in the power grid had been taken out-of-service.
Third, empirical evidence from years of U.S. commercial nuclear power operation shows the chief risk is borne by the operating companies and that the risk is purely financial. The hoopla foretold in comments above has never occurred and has been demonstrated to be of negligible likelihood at an American nuclear power plant.
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