Date: Fri, 17 Mar 2006 11:13:12 -0800

From: "Russell 'Ace' Hoffman" <>
Subject: It ain't easy being green, but in the end, everybody wants to
  be green, no matter how ridiculous the color looks on them

to: "Melanie Cleveland" <>

March 17th, 2006

Re Your "interview" with David Oatley

Dear Ms Cleveland,

The LA Times obit for a former CEO of SCE described him as being "green" as in:

"W. Gould, 86; Edison CEO Urged 'Green' Energy."

The truth is, he was CEO while San Onofre's Units II and III both went on line -- over the opposition of knowledgeable activists, learned scientists, and the more-or-less-ignorant-but-knowledgeable-enough-to-be-wary general public.

If you look back at news reports from the time, I'm sure you'll find that even a few good reporters clearly opposed San Onofre (and, tsk, tsk, let their biases show).

The further truth is that the highly subsidized nuclear nightmare known disingenuously as an "industry" has not only cost America and the world a fortune in health care costs and misdirected investment, it has at the same time always been priced to DESTROY the economic viability of real "green" options.  Oil prices, similarly, have been manipulated for decades based on the market price of competitive solutions to our energy needs -- priced low enough to keep renewables from achieving widespread use.  As an added crippling move, nuclear energy sucked all the development money out of government and private investment.  By setting a course for a nuclear future which could not be met and was not met (they expected to have 1000 nuclear power plants operating in the U.S. alone, and 10,000 operating worldwide, by now), we are left in today's energy quandary, with no good solutions which don't require billions of dollars in public investment, and no one willing to admit that nuclear power is an utter, total failure.

Because of the economic monstrosity of nuclear power, the would-be wind farms of the future are not being built.  Long-term contracts for energy have already been signed with the nuclear hog, which creates waste which cannot be cleansed at any price.  It can only be shuffled around, or placed somewhere and carefully guarded for millions of years, at great expense.  Or it can be dispersed to the environment, the "dilution" solution to nuclear pollution, which only hides the deaths it causes, but does nothing to prevent them.  Only keeping radioactive waste TOTALLY away from human beings (and other living things) protects us from it, or its effects.  For instance, almost 400 farms in England alone are still under special watch, or closed to farming entirely, because of the Chernobyl accident, which was 20 years ago next month.

As for Mr. Oatley, I've seen his inaction in action in a SLO motion, deaf-public "hearing" where some federal agent of the government in suit and body odor walks around with a microphone and holds it in your face, lest some activist take the floor for more than three minutes, shout, cry, or curse, where no questions are answered, where follow-ups are promised on only the most trivial minutia and then only occasionally delivered, perhaps once per decade per activist, and where the BIG QUESTIONS are always completely ignored.  Questions like:  Do we actually need these things (as opposed to, say, off-shore wind power, solar-based mirrors for evening city light, etc.)?

The obvious answer to such straight-forward questions would never have been uttered by David Oatley in all his years at PG&E:  We don't need nuclear power, and it inhibits the real solutions we do need.

But instead, the public is spoon-fed Utility- and the NRC-supported promotional tours, with color projectors to show PowerPoint slides for the officials, who spend 45 minutes explaining that green boxes on their charts mean you (the public) can go to sleep because everything is okay, and red boxes mean you (the public) can go to sleep, because the NRC has slapped the wrist of the utility, and everything is okay.

These sleepy, scripted, staged events drone on, year after year.  And anyone who rises to the level of having appeared in the media more than once in opposition to any nuclear power plant ends up being called a "very vocal activist" and other derogatory and dismissive terms -- but almost never by name, of course.  Just by association.  YOU certainly didn't ask Mr. Oatley to NAME these specific, "very few" people he was talking about.  You damned us all as ignorant (operating on "beliefs" instead of solid facts) by letting him damn us all.  Thanks.

Below are some URLs with some basic information any reporter in the biz should know without looking it up.  But I've found government toadies in charge of emergency planning in San Diego, for instance, who don't even know that the spent fuel is stored OUTSIDE the containment domes!  So ignorance, while no excuse, is not limited to reporters and the gullible public who buys their stories.

Mr. Oatley could learn to renounce nukes if he studied the whole picture instead of just the financial benefit to the company that boils the water and turns the turbines, but does not pay for tritium-based childhood deformities in the community around them, or for worker claims of job-related cancer, and nor do they pay the costs for millions of years of guarded storage for the waste they are creating -- about 500 pounds a day at Diablo Canyon, and another 500 pounds a day at San Onofre -- and that's only the "high level radioactive waste" volume they are creating.  In addition, they create about a ton a day of so-called "low-level" radioactive waste, which is just high level waste, mixed in with enough non-radioactive stuff to be reclassified.  It can still produce the full spectrum of radiation effects:  Cancer, leukemia, birth defects, heart disease and 1000 other ailments (it also worsens other diseases one happens to be suffering from).

Mr. Oatley will be remembered for his "contribution" of hundreds of deadly terrorist's targets on our coastline, the destruction of any ONE of which would lead to bankruptcy for the state, the permanent abandonment of vast areas worth trillions of dollars, the deaths of MILLIONS of people, and the painful suffering of many millions more.

He will be remembered for his irradiation of thousands of pounds of ultra-expensive titanium -- hundreds of miles of tubing -- for his new steam generators, wasted "ti" which can never be used anywhere, not even in another nuclear power plant, because it will have been "poisoned" by the radiation which runs through the steam generator tubes in supposedly low amounts, but over time, it ruins everything in the plant.

Most likely, unless we force the plants to close, Oatley will be most remembered for contributing two future Chernobyls to our State and causing millions to lose their lives in pain and suffering.

Thank you, Mr. Oatley.

Ms Cleveland, it is clear that you did not make any attempt to verify the outrageous claims Mr. Oatley was making in your article.  Perhaps twenty years from now someone will look at your article, and look at the deep mess nuclear power has gotten California into by then, which might be a million times deeper than we are in it already -- awash as we are with about 10,000,000 pounds of high level spent fuel waste, much of it created under Oatley's "guidance," and it will be as obvious to them as it is to me:  Your bias is showing.


Russell "Ace" Hoffman
Concerned Citizen
Carlsbad, CA

1) Green with envy:  In death, everybody wants to be green
2) Educational Nuke and other links by the author of this letter
3) David Oatley takes a hike
4) Contact information for the author of this letter

(1) Green with envy:  In death, everybody wants to be green:

To: "Edward Siegel"
Subject: Re: FYI: OBITUARIES: "W. Gould, 86; Edison CEO Urged 'Green' Energy BUT BUILT SAN ONOFRE!!!", By Valerie J. Nelson, LATimes (3/15/06) ; Emailing: la-me-gould15mar15,1,2689598,full.html

Hi Ed,


Units II and III both came on line while he was CEO, but now he's being called "Green" in death.

Well, at least it goes to show that it ain't pretty not looking green, and in the end, everybody WANTS to look green, no matter how ridiculous the color looks on them.


Russell "Ace" Hoffman
P.S. Thanks again for your advice on Indiana.  I'm definitely not going there!

At 08:39 AM 3/15/2006 -0800, Dr. Siegle sent:

Re: FYI: OBITUARIES: "W. Gould, 86; Edison CEO Urged 'Green' Energy BUT BUILT SAN ONOFRE!!!", By Valerie J. Nelson, LATimes (3/15/06) ; Emailing: la-me-gould15mar15,1,2689598,full.html

8:36 AM PST, March 15, 2006

W. Gould, 86; Edison CEO Urged 'Green' Energy

By Valerie J. Nelson, Times Staff Writer
March 15, 2006

William R. Gould, a former Southern California Edison executive who championed the development of renewable and alternative power sources decades before the concept was commonly accepted, has died. He was 86.

Gould, who was the utility's chairman and chief executive officer from 1979 to 1984, died Saturday at Long Beach Memorial Medical Center of complications associated with old age and a stroke, said his son, Wayne.

(2) Educational Nuke and other links by the author of this letter:

Please visit these web sites:

This NEW (February, 2006) animation requires FLASH 8:
Depleted Uranium: The Malignant Bullet

What is Tritium and how does it hurt you? (2006):

How does a nuclear power plant work?  Animations of PWRs and BWRs (2005):

SCE Memo (2005):

POISON FIRE USA:  An animated history of major nuclear activities in the continental United States (2004):

NO NUKES IN SPACE: (FLASH animation, 2003)):
or try:

Internet Glossary of Nuclear Terminology / "The Demon Hot Atom" (2002):

SHUT SAN ONOFRE! (various dates):

List of every nuclear power plant in America, with history, activist orgs,
specs, etc.:

List of ~300 books and videos about nuclear issues in my collection
(donations welcome!):

Learn about The Effects of Nuclear War here (1999):

And also please visit these educational web sites by the same author:

Selected Pump Animations with full frame control (2004):

"All About Pumps" educational software tutorial (first released. 1990s):

"Statistics Explained" educational software tutorial (first released 1990s):

"The Heart: The Engine of Life" educational tutorial about the human heart (originally written in 1984 and released for the first time in 1986):

All three of the educational products require passwords to be entered once for full access:

MR. PUMP is the password for "All About Pumps"

ANOVA for "Statistics Explained"

AORTA for "The Heart: The Engine of Life"

The programs also ask for a "login ID", but that can be anything in the current releases.

-- ACE

(3) David Oatley takes a hike:
03/15/06 **** RADIATION BULLETIN(RADBULL) **** VOL 14.63
Send News Stories to with title on subject
line and first line of body

21 San Luis Obispo Tribune: Leaving behind Diablo Canyon

| 03/15/2006 |

David Oatley Tribune photo by David Middlecamp David Oatley

Ready for a new career challenge

By Melanie Cleveland

David Oatley has spent the majority of his career at Pacific Gas
and Electric Co. He worked for the company for 23 years,
spending the past eight as the highest ranking official at
Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant.

During his tenure, the plant continued to operate without
interruption, despite community protests over nuclear power, a
statewide energy crisis starting in 2000, and PG’s collapse into
and eventual recovery from bankruptcy.

The past few years were relatively calm for Oatley, giving him
enough stability to spearhead the approval of several major
initiatives. These include spent-fuel, dry-cask storage and
steam generator replacement projects, as well as a few more
minor projects, all to be completed by 2010 at an estimated cost
of $1.2 billion.

Before he left Diablo last week, Oatley spoke to The Tribune
about his retirement, his experience as head of a nuclear power
plant, the challenges he faced and the future of the nuclear
power industry.

The announcement of your retirement and your departure came as a
surprise to many people. What happened?

There are several theories in exit strategy management. One is
to make it long and drawn out. Everyone knows you are going and
you become a lame duck, so there’s a leadership vacuum. The
other is to have a succession plan behind the scenes, and then
you announce your departure and leave quickly. That was the one
I chose. A couple of people knew what was happening six months
ago and we brought in Donna Jacobs as vice president and
director of nuclear services last year as part of my succession

Why retire from the company now?

There is a lot of pressure running my kind of company. We are
under a tremendous amount of scrutiny, we try to get approvals
that prove difficult, and there is a lot of intervention. And
there are long hours, typically 60 in a week. When we have
outages, it’s more like 72 hours a week.

I knew I didn’t want to work under that kind of pressure at the
same job for the rest of my life. ... I’ve wanted to retire
early from the company for a while. There is only one nuclear
plant under PG, and I wanted another challenge.

This is not unusual. Most people in my job typically only do it
for five years before moving on to some other job.

Who will replace you?

My responsibilities go to both Donna Jacobs and Jim Becker (two
vice presidents responsible for special, long term projects and
day-to-day operations, respectively). Someone will probably be
named general manager after the plant completely shuts down to
replace three low-pressure turbines in April. At that time,
we’ll do the normal refueling of the reactor and other normal
maintenance in the plant.

Are you going to work somewhere else?

I’m open to a lot of options. I might consider working on a new
plant somewhere else in the United States. I figure I have 10
good years left to work. I started my career building a plant. I
might end my career building a plant. I may choose to stay here
and consult in the nuclear industry elsewhere. Right now, I’m
doing nothing for two or three months and play some golf.

What was the biggest challenge you faced when working at Diablo?

Pushing a necessary industry through public resistance. Nothing
has been easy for Diablo when we work in California’s political
climate. Compare that to other states in the country, such as
the Carolinas, that actually offer tax incentives to attract
nuclear plants. It’s taken a long time, but now that I’ve gotten
approvals for the dry-cask storage on site, and a replacement
plan for the steam generators and reactor heads in the years
ahead, I think we’re in a good place to let Donna and Jim take

What could be done to improve the political climate for Diablo?

Other than move out of state? It would take a change in
California’s social structure itself. To be fair to Diablo’s
opponents, we do have a plant in a beautiful area and we are a
community that wants to keep things pristine. And a few very
vocal activists believe firmly that the plant should be shut

That’s not to say there aren’t people here who understand the
importance of having Diablo’s power supply and contribution to
the economy. In the county, it’s $650 million a year. On top of
that we contribute $750 million a year to the state.

Maybe as time goes on, more people will recognize our value.

What’s been the most rewarding part of the job?

The people, without a doubt. We have some of the brightest, most
committed people working at the plant. That’s one reason
Diablo’s been so highly rated and that’s what I’ll miss the
most. I also am very proud of my last 23 years in the power
industry. We came through the last eight years solidly and
safely. You just can’t beat that.

In terms of the plant’s future, how long will PG operate Diablo?

The company is licensed until 2025. We’ve applied for funds, $19
million, to study the feasibility of continuing operations
beyond that.

A big, yet-to-be resolved nuclear issue is the storage of spent
fuel. Assuming Yucca Mountain never opens, how long can PG
safely store Diablo’s waste here on the plant’s property?

Yucca Mountain will open; it’s more of a political issue now
than a technical one.

And while nuclear waste can be safely stored here on site, it
makes better sense to store waste in a single place; for one
thing, it’s more easily monitored in an aggregate setting.

We will also start extracting more of the used uranium. New
technologies are becoming available to reprocess 90 percent of
our nuclear waste. With 125 new nuclear plants being built in
the world, reprocessing uranium will become increasingly valid.

So, you believe nuclear power has a long future in America?

Yes, and I’d like to say forever. There will always be a need to
produce electricity and that need is growing, which puts a
demand on traditional fuel supplies. Other sources are
expensive, such as solar, and others are getting more expensive
­the cost of natural gas, for instance, went up fourfold in the
last three or four years. Still others, like hydro, can’t be
produced at the same rate all year-round because of the
inconstant energy supply.

What we can’t predict is the new technologies that will come
forward to meet the demands, but I think nuclear power will
always be part of a diverse portfolio of power, at least in the
foreseeable future.

(4) Contact information for the author of this letter: