NRC rejects request to shut down Diablo Canyon reactor

October 10, 2023

Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant


Federal regulators rejected a request from a pair of environmental groups to immediately shut down one of the two reactors at Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant. [The Journal Record]

Mothers for Peace and Friends of the Earth jointly filed a petition calling for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) to order the immediate shutdown of Diablo Canyon Unit 1 for tests and inspections of its pressure vessel. The tests have been delayed for 20 years, the environmental groups said. They argued the equipment could fail and cause a catastrophe. 

Commissioners, though, took no action on the request to immediately shut down the Unit 1 reactor and instead asked agency staff to review the matter. The commission also rejected a request to convene a hearing to reconsider a 2003 decision by NRC staff to extend the testing schedule for the Unit 1 pressure vessel until 2025.

The last inspections on the vessel took place between 2003 and 2005, according to the environmental groups. 

Mothers for Peace and Friends of the Earth said in a statement that the NRC’s decision showed “a complete lack of concern for the safety and security of the people living near” the plant.

PG&E has said Diablo Canyon is in full compliance with industry guidance and regulatory standards for monitoring and evaluating the safety of the reactor vessels. 

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I find it interesting that we read about this appeal and denial here, and in the NYTimes and the Journal Record, thanks to AP coverage, but not in the Fibune, our daily newspaper of record, specializing in restaurant openings and closings. The Fibbie took about a month to learn about the appeal (by Friends of the Earth and Mothers for Peace), and I wonder how long till they cover this denial of the appeal? Of course Nude Times is no better. Thanks CCN for the coverage.

I would have preferred that this piece offered a bit more detail regarding exactly why two groups of concerned citizens were requesting better regulation. It so happens that the pressure containment vessels are made of metals that have proven to become quite brittle over time. Hence the need to test them regularly for structural integrity. If they have become brittle, which is a distinct possibility, then in the event of an emergency, when they are called upon to actually contain pressure, they will explode.

You can vote me down for this comment, but if that were to happen with your family living nearby or downwind, it would not be a good thing. Actually, not a good thing for the entire Central Coast, for a very, very, very long time. Fukushima is still not under control. Nobody knows how to stop it, and they are simply dumping the radiation into the ocean, where it will be a hazard far longer than our conception of time. You don’t hear about that because it is bad for the business. Lots of people in this county are making the big bucks to be working at Diablo and want to continue getting that paycheck. But hey, it’s just the ocean, it’s just a chance, what are the odds…? Out of sight, out of mind. What’s the problem? Let’s bet our future that nothing ever goes wrong with this particular nuke, sitting on 13 fault lines, etc.

As for the statement that the units are within compliance, that is completely false and a construct of the industry. The NRC was formerly The Atomic Energy Commission, their mission being strictly promotional. To my knowledge, these “regulators” are basing their decision on the testing of other units and not those at Diablo specifically. A twenty-year delay in testing and counting…

Russian roulette, anyone?

Are you a metallurgists? May want to do some homework before making sweeping, generalist comments.

I am not the plural of anything. But since you ask, I am making these statements based on the guidelines established by the NRC, itself due to the reasons stated. Your homework, besides brushing up on English, might include checking up on exactly what I stated, before criticizing it.