2010-05-26 San Luis Obispo Mothers for Peace to Argue Against License Renewal for Diablo Canyon Nuclear Plant

The Atomic Safety and Licensing Board will hear arguments for Mothers for Peace Contentions on May 26, 2010.

For Immediate Release
May 18, 2010
Contact: Jane Swanson, spokesperson
best phone contact (805) 595-2605
mobile phone (805) 440-1359

Hazards posed by earthquakes and terrorist attack will dominate oral arguments to be presented by San Luis Obispo Mothers for Peace (SLOMFP) attorney Diane Curran in San Luis Obispo on Wednesday, May 26. The controversy is about Pacific Gas and Electric Company’s (PG&E’s) application to extend the life of the Diablo Canyon nuclear plant by an additional 20 years. The current operating licenses for the two nuclear reactors expire in 2024 and 2025, respectively. PG&E has applied to continue operations until 2044 and 2045.

SLOMFP Attorney Diane Curran from Washington, D.C., will argue that PG&E has failed to meet five requirements of either the National Environmental Policy Act or NRC regulations in order to qualify for license renewal.

* PG&E has failed to demonstrate the ability to safely manage the aging plant, which was designed in the 60’s, and constructed in the late 60’s through the early 80’s. NRC inspection reports document chronic and significant errors in the management of safety equipment at Diablo Canyon.

* PG&E ‘s application lacks information on the seismic risks to Diablo, given that studies of the Shoreline Fault, identified in 2008, are incomplete.

* PG&E has failed to address the airborne environmental impacts of a reasonably foreseeable spectrum of spent fuel pool accidents, including accidents caused by earthquakes, as required by the National Environmental Policy Act.

* PG&E has failed to evaluate the environmental impacts of an attack on the Diablo Canyon spent fuel pool during the proposed extension of 20 years.

* PG&E’s application lacks a required discussion of the cost-effectiveness of measures to mitigate the environmental impacts of an attack on the Diablo Canyon reactor during the license renewal term.

An Atomic Safety and Licensing Board (ASLB) from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) will begin the hearing at 8:30 a.m. in the County Board of Supervisor’s Chamber in the San Luis Obispo County Government Center. Only attorneys for the three parties – NRC staff, PG&E, and San Luis Obispo Mothers for Peace - will be allowed to address the three-member ASLB, but members of the public will be allowed to attend the hearing or may watch it on a planned "webstreaming feed":http://www.slocounty.ca.gov/clerk/BoardofSupervisors.htm.

Separate Challenge to Dry Cask Storage Awaits Argument in Federal Court

San Luis Obispo Mothers for Peace has a separate lawsuit pending in the United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit. In this appeal, filed in February of 2009, SLOMFP asserts that, in approving a license for the Diablo Canyon Spent Fuel Storage Installation (“ISFSI” or dry cask storage facility), the NRC should have granted MFP a closed hearing on the adequacy of the NRC’s Environmental Assessment (EA), which was a mere eight pages in length. The NRC claimed that security considerations ruled out a hearing, even though at a closed hearing only those with the required security clearance would be present. MFP attorney Diane Curran has the necessary clearance. MFP also accuses the NRC of unlawfully using secret criteria to deny the possible environmental impacts of an attack on the dry casks at Diablo Canyon. The NRC illegally ruled that there was no requirement to do a complete Environmental Impact Statement, claiming irrationally that even a successful terrorist attack would have “no significant impact” on the environment. SLOMFP awaits the scheduling of a hearing on that case by the federal court. DOCUMENTS AVAILABLE ONLINE: * "NRC news release":http://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/doc-collections/news/2010/10-078.html announcing the oral arguments May 26 in San Luis Obispo * "Memorandum and Order":http://mothersforpeace.org/20100322request-for-hearing/ with details of the schedule for the oral arguments * "Legal arguments against license renewal":http://mothersforpeace.org/licenserenewalcontentions filed by San Luis Obispo Mothers for Peace attorney Diane Curran * "Various documents":http://mothersforpeace.org/20090211nrc related to the separate lawsuit pending in the United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit