Enviro Groups Oppose Seismic Testing at Diablo Canyon
September 25, 2012
The nuclear power watchdog group that's advocated for comprehensive seismic analysis at the Diablo Canyon power plant is now joining a chorus of environmental groups pushing for a delay in permits for seismic imaging.
San Luis Obispo Mothers for Peace, along with the Sierra Club and COAST Alliance (Citizens Opposing Acoustic Seismic Testing), are urging the California Coastal Commission to deny permits to Pacific Gas & Electric for seismic testing.
Possible effects on wildlife include masking of natural sounds, behavioral disturbance, temporary or permanent hearing impairment, according to a Sept. 19 notice released by the Department of Commerce in response to PG&E's proposal.
The area for testing, which is home to 36 reported marine mammal species, falls outside the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary.
In the testing, air guns are fired off every few seconds from boats, emitting a pulse sound that then bounces off surfaces to provide geologic information.
"Because of grave and valid concerns voiced by the fishing and environmental communities, Mothers for Peace advocates that the seismic testing be delayed to allow time to thoroughly explore other technologies less harmful to marine life," according to a statement released by Mothers for Peace.
Under state law, PG&E is required to conduct a comprehensive seismic analysis, and must in order to renew its operating license. State Sen. Sam Blakeslee, R-San Luis Obispo, has pushed for better seismic mapping in the wake of the disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant in Japan.
However, some geologists have called into question the value of seismic mapping.
The Coastal Commission is scheduled to consider the PG&E application at its next meeting, October 10-11 in Oceanside.