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Hearings planned after call for nuke-plant closure

August 26, 2014 • National News


FILE – This Nov. 3, 2008 file photo shows aboveground casks designed to store radioactive waste from a nuclear reactor at Pacific Gas and Electric’s Diablo Canyon Power Plant in Avila Beach, Calif. A senior federal nuclear expert who was stationed at the plant is urging regulators to shut down the facility until they can determine whether it can withstand powerful shaking from any one of several earthquake faults that have been discovered near the complex in recent years. (AP Photo/Michael A. Mariant, File)

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A senior federal nuclear expert is urging regulators to shut down California’s last operating nuclear plant until they can determine whether the facility’s twin reactors can withstand powerful shaking from any one of several nearby earthquake faults.

Michael Peck, who for five years was Diablo Canyon’s lead on-site inspector, says in a 42-page, confidential report that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission is not applying the safety rules it set out for the plant’s operation.

The document, which was obtained and verified by The Associated Press, does not say the plant itself is unsafe. Instead, according to Peck’s analysis, no one knows whether the facility’s key equipment can withstand strong shaking from those faults — the potential for which was realized decades after the facility was built.

Continuing to run the reactors, Peck writes, “challenges the presumption of nuclear safety.”

Peck’s July 2013 filing is part of an agency review in which employees can appeal a supervisor’s or agency ruling — a process that normally takes 60 to 120 days, but can be extended. The NRC, however, has not yet ruled. Spokeswoman Lara Uselding said in emails that the agency would have no comment on the document.

The NRC, which oversees the Login to read more

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