California Senator Sam Blakeslee (R-San Luis Obispo) is calling for a seismic study of the Diablo Canyon power plant before PG&E is allowed to renew licenses to operate the facility through 2045. At a hearing this week he expressed deep concerns about a “culture of disregard and risk.” Blakeslee, who has a doctorate in earthquake studies, is specifically concerned about newly discovered faults that may exist near or even beneath the Diablo Canyon power plant. In light of Japan’s 9.0 quake and the resulting malfunctions at the Fukushima nuclear plant, Blakeslee wants confirmation that nuclear reactors in California would be safe even if similar natural disasters struck here. How risky are these newly discovered faults? Why have earlier recommendations for safety studies been ignored? And is it really possible to prepare for the unknown, especially considering that Japan’s recent disaster exceeded all expectation?
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