NRC to have ASLB consider Diablo Canyon issue brought by Friends of the Earth

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has referred issues raised by Friends of the Earth (FOE) concerning agency oversight of seismic safety at the Pacific Gas & Electric (PGE) (NYSE:PCG) Diablo Canyon nuclear plant the Atomic Safety and Licensing Board (ASLB) panel.

“We refer a limited portion of the hearing request to the Atomic Safety and Licensing Board Panel to determine whether Friends of the Earth has identified an NRC activity that requires an opportunity to request an adjudicatory hearing pursuant to section 189a of the Atomic Energy Act of 1954, as amended (AEA),” NRC said in a May 21 memorandum and order.

FOE had petitioned to intervene and sought a hearing in what the organization characterizes as a de facto license amendment proceeding involving the operating licenses held by Diablo Canyon Units 1 and 2 in California.

FOE has claimed that the NRC is allowing PG&E to operate Diablo Canyon outside of the plant’s licensing basis with respect to the analysis of new seismic data following discovery of the Shoreline Fault in 2008.

“This is a major victory that could be the turning point for a nuclear-free future for California,” said Damon Moglen of Friends of the Earth.

“PG&E now is following the same path that forced Southern California Edison to pull the plug on San Onofre,” Moglen said.

In a 3 -1 ruling, the commissioners ruled that Friends of the Earth’s petition will now be considered by the ASLB. Commissioner Kristine Svinicki dissented.

About Wayne Barber 4201 Articles
Wayne Barber, Chief Analyst for the GenerationHub, has been covering power generation, energy and natural resources issues at national publications for more than 20 years. Prior to joining PennWell he was editor of Generation Markets Week at SNL Financial for nine years. He has also worked as a business journalist at both McGraw-Hill and Financial Times Energy. Wayne also worked as a newspaper reporter for several years. During his career has visited nuclear reactors and coal mines as well as coal and natural gas power plants. Wayne can be reached at wayneb@pennwell.com.