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Diablo Canyon: Boxer will seek answers on earthquake risks in Senate hearing

December 2, 2014

Environment & Public Works committee meets Wednesday – live webcast available

WASHINGTON, D.C. – On Wednesday, December 3, Nuclear Regulatory Commissioners will face tough questions from Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) over the NRC’s suppression and rejection of a report that cited dangers at Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant. The report, by Diablo Canyon’s former chief inspector Michael Peck, warned that the plant may not be safe from earthquakes.

Sen. Boxer, chair of the Environment & Public Works Committee, called the hearing after revelations surfaced in August that Peck had filed a formal dissent over inaction by the NRC on startling new seismic information. The dissent detailed how the discovery of new faults, unknown when the plant was designed and built more than 40 years ago, casts doubt on whether the plant can withstand shaking from newly identified earthquake faults surrounding the 1960s-era nuclear reactors on California’s Central Coast.

The NRC kept Peck’s dissent secret for more than a year before denying it in September. Expert testimony will also address the seismic report released by PG&E on the same day as the NRC decision, which revealed that faults surrounding Diablo are far larger and interconnected and therefore capable of stronger shaking than the plant was designed to withstand.

What: Environment & Public Works Committee hearing
Where: Dirksen Senate Office Building, Room 406, Washington, D.C.
When: 10 a.m. EST/ 7 a.m. PST, Wednesday, December 3
Webcast: A live webcast can be accessed at that time by clicking the red Live Hearing icon here.

  • NRC Chair Allison M. Macfarlane, who is leaving her post at the end of this year
  • Four NRC commissioners
  • Former California State Senator Sam Blakeslee, a seismologist and former member of the state Seismic Safety Commission, whose district included the plant
  • Daniel Hirsch, a nuclear safety expert who is a lecturer at the University of California, Santa Cruz
  • Anthony R. Pietrangelo, Senior Vice President and Chief Nuclear Officer of the Nuclear Energy Institute

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Expert Contact:
Damon Moglen, (202) 352-4223, dmoglen@foe.org

Communications Contacts:
Kate Colwell, (202) 222-0744, kcolwell@foe.org (East Coast)
Bill Walker, (510) 759-9911, bw.deadline@gmail.com (West Coast)

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