The recent magnitude-6.1 quake in Napa as well as the leak of Michael Peck’s internal disagreement with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission has again put the Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant in the crosshairs of several anti-nuclear groups.
Diablo Canyon has been operating safely for 30 years. It is designed to withstand a 7.5-magnitude quake centered locally. Thorough reading of Mr. Peck’s two filings and the response by the NRC show that Mr. Peck’s standalone interpretation of the complex rules would stipulate that PG&E must shut down all operations until they can prove that the plant can not only withstand such enormous quakes simultaneously on all the known faults, but also be able to shut down in an orderly fashion with no damage whatsoever.
A magnitude-7.5 quake would be more than 30 times more devastating than the recent quake in Napa. Such a quake would be an enormous catastrophe for our local environment and economy. It would be much more likely that many lives, buildings, roadways, dams, water lines and power lines would be lost due to the quake itself than that Diablo Canyon would be seriously compromised.