County OES to Buy $83,000 Suburban

Written by Estero Bay News

June 29, 2023

County Supervisors recently approved dipping into a special account for nuclear disaster response to buy a new truck to use in case of a nuclear accident at Diablo Canyon Power Plant.

The County Office of Emergency Services, which coordinates the County’s “Nuclear Power Preparedness Program or NPP gets its money from the State and the Governor’s OES, according to a report on the matter.

The County will spend over $83,000 on an 8-passenger van for its field monitoring team’s use, should Diablo Canyon ever have a meltdown.

“The County,” reads a report, “is federally required to provide radiological monitoring during and after an emergency at the Diablo Canyon Power Plant. This monitoring is conducted by field monitoring teams, which respond to areas near and downwind from the power plant to identify the location and severity of any potential radiological plume in the event of a release. The teams use various monitoring and sampling equipment to take air samples, check ground deposition, and identify water and vegetation contamination.”

County OES would use all this data to “help make protective action decisions regarding evacuation, relocation, and ingestion pathway restrictions.”

The County has two “field monitoring teams” made up of County and Pacific Gas & Electric employees. PG&E owns and operates Diablo Canyon. The teams had always used PG&E vehicles but changes in federal law means they need their own.

“Historically,” the report said, “the teams utilized PG&E vehicles for their response, but with new federal requirements on team capabilities, the current small SUV vehicles do not have sufficient capacity to carry the 4-8 people required during joint field monitoring exercises, including their equipment and the FEMA evaluator and exercise controllers.”

CalOES approved the County buying a Chevy Suburban to fill this need for a bigger vehicle and is scheduled to approve another vehicle purchase next fiscal year.

“This vehicle with eight passenger seating and four-wheel drive will enable the field monitoring teams to transport all of their personnel, equipment and operate safely in off-road areas. Additionally, this large capacity vehicle will allow the FEMA evaluator and exercise controllers to facilitate the required exercises and evaluations in the same vehicle.”

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