San Luis Obispo, CA, October 4, 2023 — San Luis Obispo Mothers for Peace (MFP) and Friends of the Earth (FoE) today deplored a decision of the Commissioners of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) for demonstrating a complete lack of concern for the safety and security of the people living near the Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant.
Disregarding expert evidence presented by MFP and FoE that the Diablo Canyon Unit 1 pressure vessel is at risk of dangerous embrittlement due to decades of neglect by Pacific Gas and Electric Co. (PG&E) and lax oversight by the NRC technical staff, the Commissioners refused to grant the groups’ hearing request or to order the immediate shutdown of the reactor for comprehensive testing of the reactor vessel’s condition.
Instead, the Commissioners bucked the groups’ shutdown request back to the agency’s technical staff to consider whether to take enforcement action against PG&E.
“We are appalled that the Commissioners are entrusting this important safety review to the same agency staff who for fifteen years has given PG&E repeated extensions of deadlines for essential tests and inspections,” said Diane Curran, attorney for MFP. Curran noted that the groups had intentionally petitioned the Commissioners, as the highest officers of the NRC, to exercise their legal responsibility for oversight of the technical staff.
Nevertheless, the groups vowed to persevere. Hallie Templeton, Legal Director for FoE, said, “We plan to continue our rigorous watchdogging of PG&E and the NRC.” She added, “The Commissioners’ decision has raised a red flag to all of us. Anyone, including California politicians, who thinks the safety of Diablo Canyon can be entrusted to the federal government unquestioningly has just received a big wakeup call.”
Linda Seeley, spokesperson for MFP, renewed the group’s call to the State of California to “go back to the original plan to close Diablo Canyon when it reaches its 40-year operating license limit in 2024 (Unit 1) and 2025 (Unit 2). Enough is enough.”