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Enviornmental Group Petitions to Shut Down Nuclear Plant

A leaked internal document from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is raising concerns about the safety of the Diablo nuclear power plant in San Luis Obispo County.

The global environmental group Friends of the Earth, filed a petition on Tuesday asking federal regulators to shut down the Diablo Canyon Nuclear plant. The NRC said it will review the document and respond accordingly (no time-frame given).

Federal regulators said it is seismically safe.

Diablo canyon nuclear power plant provides energy for more than 3 million customers in northern and central California.

The Associated Press recently got hold of a 42 page confidential report by an NRC employee Michael Peck who was an on-site inspector.

The NRC said inspectors stay with sites for a maximum of seven years.

In his report Peck asks the NRC to re-examine the safety of the nuclear power plant. He doesn’t say the plant unsafe, but questions its seismic safety.

Jane Swanson with the environmental group Mothers for Peace in San Luis Obispo County said, “The fact that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission sat on this critical report by Dr. Peck is absolutely scandalous.”

The NRC said it wants it’s employees to speak up if they have differing views – they said the leaked document is not a secret but the agency has disagreed with Peck.

Peck appealed the agency’s decision.

The NRC said this is an internal disagrees that’s been ongoing.

Blair Jones, spokesman for PG&E said, “Diablo Canyon was designed with seismic safety in mind before it began operating.”

PG&E said the plant can handle and earthquake.

Jones said, “We continually analyze the seismic design of the plant.”

After the earthquake at Fukushima the NRC told all plants to reanalyze seismic hazards.

The new seismic reports are due March of 2015.

Lara Uselding a spokesperson with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission said in an email, “The former Senior Resident inspector submitted non-concurrence papers (NCPs) in January 2011 and January 2012, followed by a Differing Professional Opinion (DPO) in July 2013 detailing a disagreement with the NRC about how the new seismic information (Shoreline fault) should be compared to the plant’s current seismic license requirements.”

Uselding said the NRC encourages an open work environment and encourages employees share concerns and differing views without fear.

The NRC continues to conclude Diablo Canyon is built to safely withstand the effects of an earthquake.

The NRC is in the process of responding to Peck’s appeal.

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