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NRC listens to Mothers for Peace, for now 

Members of the anti-nuke organization San Luis Obispo Mothers for Peace (SLOMFP) have reason to celebrate. On Aug. 4, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s Atomic Safety and Licensing Board agreed to hear four of the five contentions presented by an attorney for Mothers for Peace regarding Pacific Gas & Electric’s application to renew the two reactors of the Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant.

The commission will hold separate hearings on each contention, during which Mothers for Peace attorney Diane Curran will present evidence to support the organization’s claims. The commission and the group expect to schedule dates for the hearings in late August.

The contentions accepted by the commission board include the group’s allegations PG&E has failed to safely manage the aging plant; that PG&E’s application lacks geological studies analyzing seismic risks to the plant, including the newly-discovered Shoreline Fault; an alleged failure to address airborne environmental impacts of spent fuel accidents; and that the application fails to adequately address measures to limit environmental impacts an attack on the plant could cause.

“Given the track record of the NRC, that they have never denied renewal of a nuclear plant, we’re not really optimistic,” Mothers for Peace spokesperson Jane Swanson said. “But the fact that they accepted four of our contentions proves to me that they were listening. So it’s very much a positive thing.”

Although the current operating licenses for the two reactors are not set to expire until 2024 and 2025, PG&E filed an application in November 2009 which, if approved by the NRC, would allow the utility to operate the units for an additional 20 years, until 2044 and 2045.

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