Sunday, December 21, 2014     Volume: 29, Issue: 21
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New Times / Breaking News Story


Diablo safety committee asks for further review on cooling system

BY COLIN RIGLEY

In a special meeting of the Diablo Canyon Independent Safety Committee, members announced that they would like to see further review and analysis of the current proposal to convert cooling systems at the nuclear power plant.

On Aug. 8, the committee held a special meeting outside of its normal quarterly meeting schedule. The committee, tasked with reviewing issues that might impact safety at the plant, revealed its initial findings after reviewing the Bechtel report, Bechtel Power Corporation technical evaluation of various possibilities to update the plant’s cooling system.

Under a state mandate on all coastal power plants, Diablo Canyon is reviewing options to switch from its current once-through cooling method. Based on an approximately two-week review of the report—which was publicly released as a draft on Aug. 7—the committee determined that changes to the cooling system could have potential impacts on backup power systems at the plant.

Primarily due to increased salt in the air from proposed cooling towers, committee members outlined their concerns that corrosion could result in failures of the offsite power system.

Additionally, committee members said the changes would likely require a Nuclear Regulatory Commission review, a process that could take years but was not factored into the proposed construction timeline of about 6 1/2 years.

Read the committee's draft evaluation here.