Panel hears conflicting safety assessments for Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Environmentalists argued Thursday that government regulators have allowed California’s last operating nuclear power plant to sidestep federal rules and conceal the risk of earthquakes that could threaten its twin reactors.
Officials for owner Pacific Gas and Electric Co., meanwhile, said the Diablo Canyon plant is safe and the company is operating within its government licenses.
The dueling assessments were presented to a Nuclear Regulatory Commission panel in suburban Washington, D.C., which is considering a petition from Friends of the Earth that contends the agency allowed the company to improperly alter the licenses while avoiding a public hearing on the changes.
The dispute is the latest in a decades-long fight over seismic safety at the coastal plant that sits within a web of earthquake faults, with one 650 yards from the reactors.
The hearing comes shortly after the NRC resumed a separate proceeding to consider a request from PG&E to renew the reactors’ operating licenses, which expire in 2024 and 2025.