Activists Sue Nuclear Regulatory Commission over Diablo Canyon Review
August 11, 2011
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission should not only slow down licensing and relicensing for nuclear reactors, but is required by federal law to pull back, according to 19 separate legal challenges filed today by 26 separate organizations and individuals.
The groups allege that following the cooling system failure and subsequent partial meltdown at Japan's Fukushima Daiichi power plant, operated by Tepco, the NRC has a legal obligation to conduct comprehensive environmental review of domestic plants.
NRC completed a 90-day assessment of lessons learned following the radiological disaster at Fukushima, which produced substantial new information that raises health and safety concerns that now must be considered in formal environmental impact statements, the plaintiffs contend.
The groups are suing over 18 of the country's 104 plants, including Diablo Canyon in San Luis Obispo.That case, filed on behalf of San Luis Obispo Mothers for Peace, says, "NRC has a non-discretionary duty to suspend the Diablo Canyon license renewal proceeding while it considers ...the environmental implications of the task force report."
Pacific Gas & Electric, the owner and operator of the Diablo Canyon plant, has voluntarily requested a delay in the relicensing after pressure from State Sen. Sam Blakeslee (R-San Luis Obispo) to conduct detailed seismic mapping studies on the fault systems near the plant. That mapping process has recently come under fire by geologists, as reported by the Weekly last week.
In their "walkdown" of Diablo Canyon, NRC inspectors identified 10 concerns, including doors that safeguard against flooding did not latch automatically; all six emergency diesel generators are located in the same area, making them vulnerable to one emergency event; an earthquake could destroy the building where PG&E’s fire truck is stored, or block access to it.