The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has finalized a previous tentative finding that an omission in Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant’s emergency evacuation planning is of low to moderate safety significance.
The finding centered on the fact that the plant’s emergency evacuation plan was changed without NRC approval to omit a measure to recommend evacuating boats at sea within 10 mile of the plant. The oversight dated to 2005, was documented in an NRC inspection and was corrected in 2013.
In December, the agency announced that the inspection’s color-coded inspection finding had tentatively been classified as white, which indicates low to moderate safety significance. The finding was finalized this week following a meeting in January with PG&E plant managers.
“PG&E should have recognized that the changes were not in compliance with those standards and required prior NRC approval,” said NRC regional administrator Marc Dapas.
Both Pacific Gas and Electric Co. and the NRC stress that San Luis Obispo County had procedures in place that included ocean evacuations and the public would not have been allowed to stay in the area during an emergency. The omission was initially discovered by PG&E which notified the NRC, said Blair Jones, utility spokesman.
“We take any questions about safety very seriously and will never cease in our efforts to continually re-examine our plans and take immediate actions to ensure we are always ready to meet our mission to protect public health and safety,” Jones said.
The finding could result in additional inspections and oversight by the NRC. The agency will notify the utility of that decision at a later date in a separate letter.