NRC rejects call to close Diablo Canyon
September 11, 2014
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission rejected the recommendation Wednesday of a former federal investigator who called for the closure of Diablo Canyon Power Plant until the agency determines whether the plant can withstand high magnitude earthquakes caused by nearby faults. [ABC News]
In July 2013, Michael Peck, the former lead NRC inspector at Diablo Canyon, stated in a confidential document that it is unsafe to continue allowing the nuclear plant to operate without further evaluating potential seismic activity in the area. Peck’s appeal to the NRC became public last month.
On Wednesday, the NRC released its decision on the concerns raised by Peck, who now works for the agency as a senior reactor instructor in Tennessee. The NRC concluded that there is no immediate or significant safety concern at Diablo Canyon.
Also on Wednesday, PG&E released a multi-year study of the earthquake faults surrounding Diablo Canyon. The study found that one of the faults, the Shorline, is twice as long as initially believed and contains intersections with other faults in the region, making it capable of creating larger earthquakes than previously considered.
Still, PG&E concluded that the plant is safe and capable of withstanding the largest potential earthquakes in the area.
Former State Sen. San Blakeslee, a geophysicist who has called for further testing of seismic potential in the area, said despite the new information, it remains premature to deem Diablo Canyon safe.