2010-03-22 MFP Filed 5 Contentions in License Renewal Proceeding

On Monday, March 22, 2010, San Luis Obispo Mothers for Peace (SLOMFP), represented by attorney Diane Curran of Washington, D.C., filed with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) to oppose the license renewal of the Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant.

By requesting standing as intervenors in this proceeding, SLOMFP puts the NRC in the position of being obligated to justify in writing its subsequent decisions. If the agency fails to comply with its own regulations and with federal law, it opens itself up to the possibility of again being challenged in federal court. In 2006 Mothers for Peace won a favorable decision against the NRC from the Ninth Circuit of the U.S. Court of Appeals, and currently has a second case on related and additional issues pending in the same court.

The plant and the radioactive waste it has produced since 1984 are located on the central coast of California, an area riddled with more than a dozen earthquake faults. Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) has applied to the NRC for an additional 20 years of operation, which would allow Unit 1 to run until 2044, and Unit 2 until 2045.

In its filing to oppose the license renewal, SLOMFP presented five Environmental Contentions (EC), four of which relate to the potential environmental impacts of earthquakes. EC-1 focuses on the failure of PG&E to include complete information about potential environmental impacts of earthquakes, as is required under the National Environmental Policy Act. The newly discovered shoreline Fault is located 300 meters from the intake structure and 600 meters from the power block. PG&E’s and the NRC’s assumption that this previously unknown and unreviewed fault poses no threat to the safe operation of Diablo Canyon is based only on initial, preliminary data, i.e. educated guesses. Three studies are pending:

· PG&E’s Shoreline Fault Study (PG&E) is due at the end of this year, 2010.

· Tectonic modeling is to be complete by 2012.

· Three dimensional imaging studies, if funded, are due in 2013.

SLOMFP argues that PG&E and the NRC cannot legitimately claim the impact of the Shoreline Fault to be ‘negligible’ until studies are complete. SLOMFP also claims that PG&E ‘s application for license renewal fails to meet federal requirements because “PG&E fails to acknowledge that it can obtain complete information by simply waiting for the completion of the information.” (page 14) “Given that 2013 is more than ten years before PG&E’s licenses are due to expire in 2024 and 2025, PG&E has ample time to conduct [an] analysis that is based on complete seismic information.” (page 15)

Other Environmental Contentions address PG&E’s failure to address environmental impacts of either accidents or terrorist attacks on the spent fuel pools or the two reactors. In one Safety Contention, SLOMFP argues that PG&E has failed to demonstrate reasonable assurance that it is capable of managing the effects of aging on safety equipment in this plant, largely built in the 1970’s. NRC inspection reports from 2008 – 2010 document an on-going failure of PG&E to properly identify, evaluate, and resolve problems and manage safety equipment.

* "Request for Hearing and Petition to Intervene by San Luis Obispo Mothers for Peace":http://mothersforpeace.org/data/20100322hearing * "San Luis Obispo Mothers for Peace's Petition for Waiver"