Nuclear Power

Randol White/KCBX

Pacific Gas and Electric has agreed to pay out $85 million to San Luis Obispo County and several Central Coast cities and public schools to help ease the proposed closure of California's last nuclear power plant.

The safety of the Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant is being considered by members of the U.S. Senate. The Committee on Environment and Public Works heard testimony Wednesday from Central Coast political and community leaders.

Congresswoman Lois Capps (D-Santa Barbara) addressed committee chair Senator Barbara Boxer (D-California) regarding recent earthquake information that suggests the power plant is not safe.

Flickr member Tracey Adams

The California State Water Board will hold a public hearing Tuesday afternoon to present studies regarding Diablo Canyon's cooling process. The hearing is informational in nature.

The state's only operating nuclear power plant currently uses a system known as once-through cooling (OTC).

PG&E is required under the Federal Clean Water Act to study alternative methods of cooling that would have less of an impact on marine life.

San Luis Obispo County

An environmental group working to shut down Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant in San Luis Obispo County is taking its argument to the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington D.C.

Diablo Canyon is the only nuclear power plant still operating in California.

Flickr member Tracey Adams

The Diablo Canyon Independent Safety Committee is scheduled to conclude its two days of public meetings in Avila Beach on Wednesday, starting with a tour of the power plant itself.

A big topic on the agenda for this round of public comment was the committee's position on the nuclear power plant's cooling methods. Members heard hours of public comment Tuesday afternoon, including a presentation by Bill Powers, an engineering consultant with Friends of the Earth. 

San Luis Obispo County

Reactor No. 2 at Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant is currently shut down for scheduled maintenance and refueling.

PG&E says it needs to bring in more than a thousand highly-trained workers to complete the process. Each of the plant's two reactors need to be refueled about every 18 months.

Similar work was performed on Unit 1 earlier this year.

Flickr member Tracey Adams

Pacific Gas and Electric Company released a report Wednesday saying Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant is seismically safe and able to withstand the largest potential earthquakes for the area.

The report was submitted to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) and presented to the California Public Utilities Commission's (CPUC) Independent Peer Review Panel.

In a statement to the media, the utility included quotes from scientists that highlight the research effort.

Flickr member Tracey Adams

Diablo Canyon's Unit 2 reactor was offline Friday evening as Pacific Gas and Electric Company crews fix recently discovered problems on a couple of the unit's backup generators.

According to PG&E, the reactor was shut down Thursday night so that a couple of parts—described as fasteners or bolts—could be replaced.

Crews decided during routine maintenance that the parts were not performing properly. PG&E is required to keep two out of the unit's three backup generators in good running order at all times in case of a power outage at the plant.

Flickr member Tracey Adams

Scientists are gathering in Southern California this week to consider methods for studying the cancer rates of those who live near nuclear facilities like Diablo Canyon. 

The National Academy of Sciences' project is in its pilot planning phase. This week's efforts will include appointing committees, considering current data, and identifying the concerns and perceptions of key stakeholders.

While the team will be working on the project for most of the week, Thursday's meeting at UC Irvine's Arnold and Mabel Beckman Center is open to the public and can be viewed online.