Blakeslee and Rachel Maddow discuss Diablo
March 25, 2011
State Sen. Sam Blakeslee spoke out about his safety concerns at the Diablo Canyon nuclear plant with MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow on Thursday.
In response to inquiries about the safety of the Diablo Canyon power plant, Blakeslee, a geophysicist with a doctorate in earthquake studies, said that data is needed to answer that question. He repeated his request that PG&E suspend its efforts to renew licenses until it has completed earthquake studies.
“I am concerned that they put relicensing ahead of the seismic studies. I think they need to turn that around and do it immediately,” Blakeslee said. “I’ve called for them to do so. I issued that challenge two days ago.”
Following the discovery of the Hosgri Fault during the plant’s construction, PG&E spent $4.5 million to retrofit the plant. In 1985, the $5.7 billion plant began producing energy.
In 2008, the Shoreline Fault was discovered less than a mile from the plant. In order to learn more about the Shoreline Fault, which way it angels, its length and proximity to the Diablo plant, an advanced seismic study needs to be conducted.
PG&E officials are working their way through the permit process required to conduct the study that a contracted company is slated to complete by 2013.
Meanwhile, PG&E is seeking to extend operations of the two nuclear reactors by 20 years, until 2044 and 2045.
Blakeslee is questioning why PG&E is racing to get relicensed before nailing down the risk assessment. He contends regulators are not providing enough oversight.
“The challenge is the regulatory entities that are tasked with really providing oversight have become to close to the industry. They no longer take their responsibilities seriously with regard to regulatory safety,” Blakeslee said. “We need to be tough on these regulators so we end with an environment that is safe.”
Officials at PG&E contend that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission requires ongoing seismic safety unrelated to relicensing.
“Our lawmakers, the community and PG&E share a common goal – that’s safe nuclear operations,” said Kory Raftery, spokesperson for PG&E. “The process by which we accomplish this goal is through our current operating licenses, which require us to look at seismic safety – today. The NRC can and does raise its standards at any time and does not wait for a license renewal.”