Testifying at a Senate hearing on the safety of nuclear power plants in the Unites States in a post-Fukushima world, Congressmember Lois Capps expressed skepticism that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) had been sufficiently “transparent” for the peace of mind of her constituents living near the Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant in Avila Beach. “More clearly needs to be done to address these concerns,” she said.
Capps noted that two seismic fault lines have been discovered off the coast from the Diablo Canyon plant; one three miles out was detected only after construction started, and the other — less than a mile out — was identified in 2008, well after the plant began generating enough electricity to power three million homes. “Considering how and when these faults were discovered, many of my constituents are understandably skeptical about the NRC process and the reliability of the seismic safety information they’ve been given,” Capps said.
The congressmember urged the NRC to subject the new seismic study results — provided by Diablo Canyon operators — to independent review. “Limiting public review,” she warned, “only feeds this skepticism.” Capps was one of many speakers to testify at the hearing, the first and most significant legislative review of nuclear safety precautions held post-Fukushima.