As Candidates for Appointment to the Diablo Canyon Independent Safety Committee
Term: July 1, 2013 through June 30, 2016
On January 8, 2013 the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) announced it was seeking applications from qualified persons to become a nominee to fill a vacancy on the Diablo Canyon Independent Safety Committee (Committee) for a three-year term beginning July 1, 2013.
The Committee consists of three members, one each appointed by the Governor, the California Attorney General, and the Chair of the California Energy Commission. The Committee assesses the safety of the operations of Pacific Gas and Electric Company’s Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant and has authority to review quarterly reports and conduct on-site inspections. The Committee reports its observations and recommendations to PG&E annually; the Committee then transmits its report, along with PG&E’s response, to the Governor, the California Attorney General, the California Energy Commission, and the CPUC.
According to the procedures adopted by the Commission in Decision 07-01-028, the President of the CPUC selects not more than three qualified candidates responding to the request for applications, plus the incumbent member whose term is expiring, if the incumbent consents to reappointment. The CPUC will issue a resolution ratifying the President’s selection of candidates for appointment. The California Attorney General shall appoint the Committee member for the term beginning on July 1, 2013 from the list of candidates selected by the President of the CPUC.
An application was received by Mr. Paul Blanch in response to the CPUC’s January 8, 2013 announcement. The incumbent member whose term is expiring, Dr. Robert Budnitz informed the CPUC’s Energy Division that he consents to reappointment for a new three-year term beginning July 1, 2013. The qualifications of Mr. Blanch and Dr. Budnitz are summarized below.
The CPUC welcomes public comments on the qualifications of Mr. Blanch and Dr. Budnitz. Please e-mail comments to firstname.lastname@example.org or write to
California Public Utilities Commission
505 Van Ness Avenue
Energy Division, Fourth Floor
San Francisco, CA 94102
Comments must be received by April 10, 2013.
Mr. Paul Blanch
Mr. Blanch is a professional energy consultant. Since 2004 he has served as an expert witness in nuclear relicensing cases for the Indian Point power plant in New York on behalf of the State of New York, the Seabrook power plant in New Hampshire for various public interest groups, and the Vermont Yankee power plant for the New England Coalition. From 2003 to 2006 he was an expert witness for plaintiffs in Finestone vs. Florida Power and Light and conducted research on the quality and quantity of unmonitored releases from the St. Lucie nuclear plant.
From 1997 to 2002 Mr. Blanch worked as a consultant to nuclear plant operators to evaluate and implement safety programs. In 2001 and 2002 he reported to the Chief Nuclear Officer at Indian Point Unit 2 and assisted in evaluating the plant’s Employee Concerns Program (ECP), assessing its Safety Conscious Work Environment Program (SCWEP), and investigating safety issues. In 2000 and 2001 he reported to the President of the Maine Yankee Atomic Power Company where he re-established a SCWEP, evaluated and recommended improvements to the ECP, conducted independent investigations of allegations received at the plant and referred by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), and facilitated and resolved differences between employees and management.
From 1997 to 2001 Mr. Blanch reported to the President of Northeast Nuclear Energy Company and assisted in the recovery of the three Millstone Units in Connecticut that had been shut down due to safety problems. He established a SCWEP and facilitated and resolved differences between employees and management. He also assisted with regulatory compliance and corporate communication efforts by providing information to the NRC and the public about the plant recovery and the SCWEP. In addition, Mr. Blanch made presentations to public interest groups, State of Connecticut oversight organizations and the NRC on the work environment at Millstone and the status of corrective actions. He also conducted presentations to the ECP Forum on how management should address whistleblower issues, and to the NRC on how to resolve high profile whistleblower situations.
From 1995 to 1998 Mr. Blanch was an expert witness for plaintiffs in proceedings related to the 1979 Three Mile Island accident. He conducted research to determine the quality and quantity of releases from the plant as part of this work.
From 1993 to 1997 Mr. Blanch was a consultant to the NRC and other clients. In that capacity he worked with the NRC on modifications to Federal Regulations for the protection of individuals who identify safety issues at nuclear facilities. He also advised clients on NRC and the U.S. Department of Labor regulations governing the protection of whistleblowers.
From 1972 to 1993 Mr. Blanch was the Supervisor of Electrical Engineering responsible for programs on plant reliability and compliance with NRC regulations. He supervised safety and compliance during the design and construction of the Millstone Units 2 and 3.
Mr. Blanch was one of the three qualified candidates selected by the California Public Utilities Commission for consideration by the California Governor for appointment to the Diablo Canyon Independent Safety Committee for the term beginning July 1, 2008 (see CPUC Resolution E-4141 dated January 10, 2008).
Mr. Blanch has a B.S. in electrical engineering from the University of Hartford. He also attended the U.S. Navy Submarine School, Nuclear Power School, and Electronics Technician School.
Dr. Robert Budnitz
Dr. Budnitz is a member of the Diablo Canyon Independent Safety Committee (Committee). He was appointed to an initial three year term from July 2007 through June 2010, and was reappointed for a second term which runs through June 2013. The California Attorney General appointed Dr. Budnitz to each term on the Committee.
Dr. Budnitz is on the scientific staff at the University of California's (U.C.) Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL), where he works on nuclear power safety and security and radioactive waste management matters.
From 2002 to 2007 Dr. Budnitz was employed at U.C.’s Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. During that time he worked on a special assignment in Washington D.C. to assist the Director of the Department of Energy’s Office of Civilian Radioactive Waste Management to develop a new Science & Technology Program for the Yucca Mountain Project.
From 1980 until 2002, Dr. Budnitz was president of Future Resources Associates, Inc., a private consulting company that he founded which specialized in reactor safety, radioactive waste, and related subjects for industrial and governmental organizations. His work included research for the NRC, the U.S. Department of Energy, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, as well as international and inter-governmental organizations such as the International Atomic Energy Agency, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development’s Nuclear Energy Agency, and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development.
From 1978 to 1980, Dr. Budnitz was a senior officer on the staff of the NRC. He was Deputy Director of the Office of Nuclear Regulatory Research from 1978 to 1979, and Director of that office in 1979 and 1980. He was responsible for assuring that reactor safety research, waste management research, and fuel cycle safety research were adequately supported. In 1979 Dr. Budnitz was the technical coordinator of the NRC to investigate the Three Mile Island accident in Pennsylvania in 1979.
From 1967 to 1978, Dr. Budnitz was on the staff of the LBNL, serving in 1975-1978 as Associate Director of LBNL and Head of LBNL's Energy & Environment Division. Programs under his direction included energy efficiency, deep geologic radioactive waste disposal, solar energy, geothermal energy, fusion energy, transportation technology, chemical-engineering for alternate fuels, environmental instrumentation, air pollution phenomena, and energy policy analysis.
Dr. Budnitz remains active in consulting on nuclear issues. He recently consulted an electric company in Argentina on the designs of nuclear reactors and their ability to withstand earthquakes. Dr. Budnitz also served on a panel appointed by the U.S. Secretary of Energy and the President’s Science Adviser after the Fukushima reactor accident in March 2011 to advise on how to interpret technical information coming from Japan about the accident and how to assist the Japanese in responding. Dr. Budnitz has consulted for U.S. and international utilities about the seismic aspects of their nuclear plant designs and has written and presented papers on external events and seismic probabilistic risk assessment.
Dr. Budnitz has a Ph.D. and an M.A. in physics from Harvard University, and a B.A. in physics from Yale University.