The anti-nuclear group San Luis Obispo Mothers for Peace is asking federal regulators to require that earthquake studies and other information that has come to light after the Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan be considered before renewing Diablo Canyon Power Plant’s operating licenses.
On April 27, the group filed two formal petitions called contentions with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Both deal with safety concerns from the March 2011 Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear disaster.
PG&E has applied to renew Diablo Canyon’s two licenses to 2044 and 2045. That application is on hold while the utility completes detailed studies of the earthquake faults around the plant.
One petition asks the results of these studies be incorporated in the renewal application. The other argues that the renewal application should present alternatives for meeting new NRC post-Fukushima safety requirements.
“PG&E must do the best possible job of protecting public safety,” said Jane Swanson, Mothers for Peace spokeswoman.
In the year since the Fukushima accident, the NRC has placed additional safety requirements on all nuclear plants in the nation. These include additional planning for severe emergencies and more instrumentation on pools storing highly radioactive used fuel.
PG&E says its seismic monitoring studies and response to new NRC requirements are ongoing programs and do not need to be specifically addressed in the license renewal documents.
PG&E will complete the studies by the end of 2015, at which time the utility intends to restart the relicensing process, said Tom Cuddy, PG&E spokesman. “No priority is more pressing and no commitment more fundamental than the safe operation of Diablo Canyon,” he said.
Mothers for Peace counter that there is plenty of time to address these issues before the current licenses expire in 2024 and 2025.
This is the latest in a series of contentions filed by the Mothers for Peace regarding license renewal. They are referred to a panel of NRC judges, who determine whether they are valid.