Earthquake Reawakens Concerns About California's Only Nuclear Plant

Pacific Gas and Electric's Diablo Canyon Power Plant's nuclear reactors are located in  Avila Beach, Calif. Pacific Gas and Electric's Diablo Canyon Power Plant's nuclear reactors are located in Avila Beach, Calif. United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission

After California's 6.0 earthquake this weekend, concerns have reemerged about a potentially neglected nuclear power plant. Experts are working to determine if the Diablo Canyon plant's "twin reactors can withstand powerful shaking from any one of several nearby earthquake faults." 

Inspector Michael Peck wrote in a report that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission is "not applying the safety rules it set out for the plant's operation." While Peck does not call the plant unsafe, he does note that proper research has not been done into impact of the earthquake faults. Though Peck filed the report in 2013, the Commission still has not ruled on the matter. They are now facing further pressure from the local community, as California's most recent earthquake was one of the strongest felt in the area in some time. 

The report was obtained by both the Associated Press and Friends of the Earth, an environmental group. Damon Moglen, a strategic adviser at Friends of the Earth, told The Hill, "We agree with him that Diablo Canyon is vulnerable to earthquakes and must be shut down immediately. Rather than the NRC keeping this a secret, there must be a thorough investigation with public hearings to determine whether these reactors can operate safely."

Pacific Gas and Electric Co, which operates Diablo Canyon, assured CBS News that the plant has been checked for earthquake dangers and "is seismically safe." This is the last nuclear plant in California. 

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