Rep. Kevin McCarthy says PG&E should continue Diablo relicensing effort

Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly said that Sen. Dianne Feinstein has called for relicensing of Diablo Canyon to be halted. She has not.

Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Bakersfield, whose congressional district stretches close to the coast in the South County, said today he believes PG&E should go forward with its efforts to relicense Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant.

In response to an inquiry from The Tribune, McCarthy wrote that “The ongoing disaster at Fukushima underscores the importance of continually reassessing safety measures at our nuclear power plants.”

However, he added, he agrees with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, which, he said, “determined that relicensing should proceed with the current information available for Diablo Canyon.”

McCarthy added that both customers and the economy need the plant.

“Our region and our state rely on this zero-emission source of electricity to power our economy,” he wrote.

“However, I plan to continue working with the NRC to make certain that the relicensing process ensures strong preventive and redundant systems are in place,” McCarthy wrote.

On Tuesday, three members of the San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors said PG&E should suspend its efforts to be relicensed until safety can be guaranteed.

The tragedy in Japan has caused county residents to demand a closer look at the nuclear power plant, one of only two currently in California. At a Board of Supervisor meeting Tuesday, about three dozen residents asked for a temporary or permanent closure.

U.S. Rep. Lois Capps, D-San Luis Obispo, and state Sen. Sam Blakeslee, R-San Luis Obispo, also have asked that the relicensing process be stopped.

State Assemblyman Katcho Achadjian said the utility, under the guidance of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, “can adequately complete its pending seismic fault study while concurrently going through the license renewal process.”