BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



          SENATE COMMITTEE ON ENERGY, UTILITIES AND COMMUNICATIONS
                              Senator Ben Hueso, Chair
                                2015 - 2016  Regular 

          Bill No:          AB 361            Hearing Date:    7/7/2015
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          |Author:    |Achadjian                                            |
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          |Version:   |5/28/2015    As Amended                              |
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          |Urgency:   |No                     |Fiscal:      |Yes             |
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          |Consultant:|Jay Dickenson                                        |
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          SUBJECT: California Emergency Services Act:  nuclear powerplants

            DIGEST:    This bill extends the sunset date on statute  
          requiring a utility that operates a nuclear powerplant to fund  
          state and local emergency response.

          ANALYSIS:
          
          Existing law:
          
          1)Defines the roles and responsibilities of state and local  
            agencies in preparing for and responding to accidents at  
            nuclear powerplants.  (Health and Safety Code 114650 -  
            114685)

          2)Requires a utility operating a nuclear powerplant to cover  
            state and local costs, not reimbursed by federal funds, to  
            prepare for and respond to accidents at nuclear powerplants.  

          3)Provides a method by which the California Public Utilities  
            Commission (CPUC) is to assess the reasonable share for such  
            an activity and directs the Office of Emergency Services to  
            periodically notify a utility of those costs.

          4)Requires such a utility to pay the assessed amount, to be paid  
            by utility customers, to the Controller for deposit in the  
            Nuclear Planning Assessment Special Account, the funds of  
            which, upon appropriation, cover state and local costs, up to  
            specified caps, to prepare for and respond to accidents at  
            nuclear power plants.








          AB 361 (Achadjian)                                 Page 2 of ?
          
          
          5)Sunsets these provisions on July 1, 2019.  (Government Code  
            8610.5)

          This bill:

          1)Extends the sunset date to August 26, 2025.

          2)Revises language specifying cost caps to refer to only the  
            Diablo Canyon nuclear facility, the state's lone operating  
            nuclear powerplant.

          Background

          Current state law requires a utility that operates a nuclear  
          power plant periodically to pay an amount, determined by the  
          CPUC, into the Nuclear Special Assessment Account.  Funds in the  
          account are to cover the state and local costs to prepare for  
          and respond to accidents at nuclear powerplants.  The statute  
          requiring such utilities to pay into the fund sunsets on July 1,  
          2019.

          There remains one operating nuclear powerplant in California -  
          Pacific Gas and Electric's (PG&E) Diablo Canyon Power Plant.   
          The power production facility and support operations sit on  
          approximately 900 acres adjacent to the Pacific Ocean between  
          Avila Beach and Montano del Oro State Park.  According to PG&E,  
          the plant produces approximately 10 percent of California's  
          energy load and about 20 percent of PG&E's overall electricity  
          production.  The powerplant is licensed by the federal Nuclear  
          Regulatory Commission (NRC) to operate until 2024 and 2025,  
          respectively, for units 1 and 2.  In 2009, PG&E filed an  
          application with NRC to extend Diablo Canyon's operation by 20  
          years.  This bill seeks to align the statutory requirement that  
          PG&E fund state and local emergency response to an accident at a  
          nuclear powerplant with the existing operating license for  
          PG&E's nuclear facility.

          Prior/Related Legislation
          
          AB 292 (Blakeslee, Chapter 492, Statutes of 2007) extended the  
          sunset date, from July 1, 2009 to July 1, 2019, on the  
          requirement that a utility that operates a nuclear powerplant  
          fund state and local emergency response.

          FISCAL EFFECT:                 Appropriation:  No    Fiscal  








          AB 361 (Achadjian)                                 Page 3 of ?
          
          
          Com.:             Yes          Local:          No


          PRIOR VOTES:


          Senate Governmental Organization Committee          (12-0)
          Assembly Floor                                 (75-0)
          Assembly Appropriations Committee                         (17-0)
          Assembly Utilities and Commerce Committee           (15-0)
          Assembly Governmental Organization Committee        (20-0)

            


          SUPPORT:  

          Alliance for Nuclear Responsibility (source)
          County of San Luis Obispo
          County of Santa Barbara
          Mothers for Peace
          Pacific Gas and Electric Company
          Physicians for Social Responsibility Los Angeles
          Sierra Club - Santa Lucia Chapter
          8 individuals

          OPPOSITION:

          None received

          ARGUMENTS IN SUPPORT:    According to the sponsor, the state  
          should require a utility that operates a nuclear powerplant to  
          fund state and local emergency response to a nuclear accident at  
          least as long as the powerplant continues to operate.


          

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