NRC hears legal challenges to Diablo Canyon license renewal

July 10, 2015

Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power PlantCORRECTION: PG&E paused attempts to extend its license in 2011 and has not determined how the company will proceed as they consider feedback on seismic research, according to PG&E spokesman Blair Jones.

Pacific Gas and Electric Co. faces legal challenges from two environmental organizations that oppose its bid to keep operating Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant for the next 30 years.

Attorneys for San Luis Obispo Mothers for Peace and Friends of the Earth made arguments before a Nuclear Regulatory Commission board on Thursday. Both groups claim the recently discovered Shoreline Fault poses more of a risk to the nuclear plant than PG&E admits.

PG&E will need license extensions in order to operate the two reactors at Diablo Canyon through 2044 and 2045. The NRC is not expected to decide on the license renewal until 2017, but it may rule on the legal challenges in the next few months.

Mothers for Peace filed four legal challenges. An attorney for the organization argued that the 2008 discovery of the Shoreline Fault greatly increased the seismic risk to Diablo Canyon, and the 2011 Fukushima disaster showed earthquakes can cause more damage than anticipated.

Mothers for Peace also claims PG&E is ignoring a wide rang of renewable energy options that could replace the nuclear power plant.

Attorneys for PG&E argued renewable energy is unreliable and also poses environmental impacts. The two solar plants in eastern San Luis Obispo County take up nine square miles, but they only generate 10 percent of the 2,300 megawatts of power that Diablo Canyon produces, a PG&E attorney said.

Friends of the Earth argues the NRC should have required an amendment to PG&E’s license when the Shoreline Fault was discovered.

PG&E attorneys said recent seismic analysis shows Diablo Canyon can shut down safely if an earthquake occurs on the Shoreline Fault.

The NRC is currently awaiting an environmental impact report on Diablo Canyon’s license renewal. On Aug. 5, the NRC will hold tow meetings in San Luis Obispo to take public comment on issues that should be included in the report.

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7 Comments

  1. CentralcoastRN says:

    I have read some of the Mothers for Peace event logs on their page.

    Their concerns are based on a whole lot of if, thens. If this were to happen, then the sky will fall. If the temperature gets to high in a cask, then xxx part will warp and radiation will leak, oxygen will get inside the helium sealed tanks, and then BAM. We die! PG and E says, “the temperature isn’t too high, so that won’t happen.”

    I openly admit that I am not expert on Nuclear power plant workings, which is precisely why I have been reading about this. So read the above paragraph I just typed again. Then I compare it to my personal vehicle. IF I don’t put oil and water in my car, the very important pistons, rods, and parts in the engine will not get the lubrication they need. That could potentially raise the temperature of the engine to dangerous levels, POTENTIALLY sending a rod through the engine block, blowing a head, causing a fire under my hood. IF I don’t add water and/or the proper fluids to the radiator, the radiator will crack, temperatures could rise, OH NO!! My response? “But I add fluids, and I have my vehicle regularly serviced. What would the chances of catastrophic meltdown and explosion?”

    I will defer to all the experts.

    (4) 8 Total Votes - 6 up - 2 down
  2. jonhartz says:

    Here we go again, Mothers for Peace, founded in 1969 to ensure the Communists defeated the US in Vietnam (I am sure the long-suffering Viet people are ever so grateful that they have lived in a brutal, impoverished regime for the last 40 years or so). Once they succeeded in ruining Indo-China, they ranged about for a new issue, and voila! Nuclear power!
    What a clean safe power plant has to do with peace they don’t explain, but nuclear is part of a phrase that has the word bomb in it! Another thing they fail to explain is why they favor dirty coal plants for the electricity for their Priuses, or bird-hacking wind turbines, or over-priced, land-greedy solar which can never make cheap power: hello: clouds, nighttime!
    Like some gun grabbers (and I am sure there is a lot of overlap) the word gun or nuclear irrationally scares the poop out of them, despite proof that the one deters crime, and the other is the best, cheapest safest way to generate the power we need. Fortunately they are not as successful in pushing the rest of us toward the Stone Age here as they were in Vietnam.

    Friends of the Earth was founded specifically to oppose nuclear power. An early leader was David Brower, who left the Sierra Club because they were not radical enough (!) for him. Their main issues these days involve food and climate, hardly any connection to a power plant. The four issues are:
    1. Economic Justice to resist Neoliberalism (seriously!)
    2. Forests & Biodiversity
    3. Food Sovereignty
    4. Climate Justice
    I am sure they have great detailed definitions for these things that nobody else has ever heard of before. They also have six more lesser goals, and near the bottom of the list (just above “Meat Production & Consumption” is…ta-da! nuclear power! I guess their former core issue just has to wait now for Climate Justice.
    Do we really need to listen to the aging hippies that make up these rather oddball organizations? I can’t take seriously any one who bases their opinion an emotions.
    I have toured Diablo Canyon and met the members of the DC Independent Safety Committee, all scientists, appointed by the Governor, the Attorney General, and the Chair of the Energy Commission. They all agree this is a safe, well-run efficient plant. I take their word over a facially-contorted screaming sign-waver any day.

    (4) 34 Total Votes - 19 up - 15 down
    • kettle says:

      So attacking people instead of presenting solutions? Here we go again Histrionics instead of History.

      (4) 22 Total Votes - 13 up - 9 down
      • MaryMalone says:

        I agree, kettle. If a person can only support his opinion by making personal attacks against those who don’t agree with him, then his opinion is so weak he basically doesn’t have one…as it pertains to the issue being discussed, which is whether or not Diablo should have another go at frying our county.

        (4) 18 Total Votes - 11 up - 7 down
    • LameCommenter says:

      Spot-on post, Hartz. Good work.

      Now, I wish somebody could analyze why SC Edison washed out San Onofre (2014) over a simple failed heat exchanger problem. Nobody forced Edison, they just WALKED. Insane. Why they didn’t just order another one last year, and use those precious 24 hour and late night Gigawatts for the grid, I don’t know. Now there are permits out for a giant gas turbine replacement in Carlsbad, CA. I don’t want a monster gas turbine in SLO County. More fossil fuels burned, more “green house gases” (if one subscribes to belief in that form of turbine discharge being pollution).

      Maybe the SC Edison Board has some Mothers for Peace on it? Seriously, what kind of stupendous error was it to decommission San Onofre over a heat exchanger metallurgy issue ? That plant had irreplaceable value. I don’t crush the Duesenberg if the radiator develops a leak!

      Base line 24 hour power is necessary when solar “don’t work so good” at night. Nuclear is a valuable source while we figure other things for the 2030-2040 time frame.

      (1) 7 Total Votes - 4 up - 3 down
  3. Rich in MB says:

    Honestly
    Does anyone listen to these Radical EnviroFacists anymore?
    To even rationally argue that renewable energy can take the place of a 2,300 MW power plant is the height of either stupidity, ignorance or flat our lies. Based on these two groups radical history, I’m betting on lies.

    (1) 29 Total Votes - 15 up - 14 down
    • kettle says:

      I will go for ” ignorance or flat our lies.” because cost ineffective power plants are being retired and most of the new power sources are renewables, world wide and in America.
      Germany is getting rid of all of there nuc’s and get 1/2 the sun we have (just 1 example, many more).

      Your information (and 75w panels) are way out of date, please stop regurgitating right wing talking points.

      Diablo continues only because it is Guaranteed to make a profit, let the free market happen not corporate handouts.

      (7) 25 Total Votes - 16 up - 9 down

Comments are closed.