25th Annual Report, Volume I, Section 1.1, Formation of the Diablo Canyon Independent Safety Committee

The Diablo Canyon Independent Safety Committee (DCISC) was established as one of the terms of a settlement agreement entered into by the Division of Ratepayer Advocates (DRA) of the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), the Attorney General (AG) for the State of California, and Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E). The settlement agreement, dated June 24, 1988, was intended to cover the operation and revenue requirements associated with the two units of PG&E’s Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant (Diablo Canyon) for the 30-year period following the commercial operation date of each unit. The agreement arose out of rate proceedings that had been pending before the CPUC for four years, and which included numerous hearings and pre-trial depositions. Just prior to the commencement of trial, the DRA, the AG and PG&E prepared and entered into the settlement agreement and submitted it to the CPUC for approval.

The agreement provided that:

“An Independent Safety Committee shall be established consisting of three members, one each appointed by the Governor of the State of California, the Attorney General and the Chairperson of the California Energy Commission (CEC), respectively, serving staggered three-year terms. The Committee shall review Diablo Canyon operations for the purpose of assessing the safety of operations and suggesting any recommendations for safe operations. Neither the Committee nor its members shall have any responsibility or authority for plant operations, and they shall have no authority to direct PG&E personnel. The Committee shall conform in all respects to applicable federal laws, regulations and Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) policies.”

The agreement further provided that the DCISC shall have the right to receive certain operating reports and records of Diablo Canyon, and that the DCISC shall have the right to conduct an annual examination of the Diablo Canyon site and such other supplementary visits to the plant site as it may deem appropriate. The DCISC is to prepare an annual report and such interim reports as may be appropriate, which shall include any recommendations of the Committee.

The settlement agreement and its supplemental implementing agreement were referred to the CPUC for review and approval. Following hearings before a CPUC Administrative Law Judge and the Commission itself, the CPUC, in December 1988, approved the settlement agreement, finding that it was reasonable and “in the public interest” and that the “Safety Committee will be a useful monitor of safe operation at Diablo Canyon”.

As required by the provisions of CPUC decisions and of Assembly Bill 1890 enacted by the California Legislature, which mandated electric utility rate restructuring and deregulation, PG&E filed an application which proposed a rate-making treatment for Diablo Canyon which would have priced the plant’s output at market rates by the end of 2001. On May 21, 1997, the CPUC issued Decision 97-05-088, which found that the DCISC remains a key element of monitoring the safe operation of Diablo Canyon. The Decision ordered that the DCISC remain in existence under the terms and conditions of the settlement agreement (Decision 88-12-083, Appendix C, Attachment A) until further order of the Commission.

On May 27, 2004, the CPUC issued Decision 04-05-055, the Test Year 2003 General Rate Case, setting the Utility’s revenue requirements for its electric generation operations. In Decision 04-05-055 the CPUC also: 1) adopted a Stipulation between the DCISC, PG&E, the Office of Ratepayer Advocates (formerly the “DRA”), The Utility Reform Network, the CEC and the San Luis Obispo Mothers for Peace which provided for the DCISC’s continued existence and funding through PG&E’s cost-of-service rates, at the funding levels established by Decision 97-05-088; 2) changed the nomination procedures for DCISC membership to eliminate from the process the participation of PG&E and the Dean of Engineering at the University of California at Berkeley; 3) modified qualification requirements for DCISC membership; and 4) added a new requirement for public outreach in the San Luis Obispo community to the DCISC’s mandate.

On January 25, 2007, the CPUC issued Decision 07-01-028. The CPUC had previously adopted new practices and expectations for the DCISC without concurrently restating the Committee’s charter to reflect the changes. In its Decision, the CPUC granted the DCISC application for authority to restate its charter including the incorporation into the Restated Charter of several terms, conditions, changes, and clarifications necessitated by, and previously authorized by, the CPUC which govern the composition, responsibilities and operations of the Committee. In its Decision, the CPUC found the Restated Charter to be in the public’s interest as it reflects the latest authority and obligations of the DCISC. The Committee’s application was unopposed.

The first “Interim Report on Safety of Diablo Canyon Operations,” covering the period of January 1 through June 30, 1990, was adopted by the DCISC on June 6, 1991, and there have been twenty-four annual reports since then. This twenty-fifth Annual report covers the period July 1, 2014—June 30, 2012 and was adopted by the DCISC at a public meeting on October 20, 2015.

For more information contact:

Diablo Canyon Independent Safety Committee
Office of the Legal Counsel
857 Cass Street, Suite D, Monterey, California 93940
Telephone: in California call 800-439-4688; outside of California call 831-647-1044
Send E-mail to: dcsafety@dcisc.org.