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NRC Confirms Seismic Safety of Diablo Canyon

The following news article originally appeared in NEI’s Nuclear Energy Overview.

The NRC’s latest analysis of faults near the Diablo Canyon nuclear energy facility in California confirms that the plant’s design could withstand earthquakes near the site, the agency said in a statement.

The NRC’s work is laid out in research information letter (RIL) 12-01, “Confirmatory Analysis of Seismic Hazard at the Diablo Canyon Power Plant from the Shoreline Fault Zone.” The RIL, part of an ongoing effort to better understand earthquake sources near Diablo Canyon, focuses on a recently identified source, the “Shoreline fault” about a kilometer offshore from the plant.

Pacific Gas & Electric, which operates the plant located 12 miles southwest of San Luis Obispo, Calif., first notified the NRC in November 2008 about the Shoreline fault. PG&E updated that information in early 2011, and a team of NRC staff visited the site in October 2011. Based on the available information and the site visit, the NRC team analyzed ground motion from earthquakes the Shoreline fault could potentially generate. All of those ground motions fell within Diablo Canyon’s existing design limits, which are based on ground motion associated with an earthquake from the larger Hosgri fault near the plant.

Diablo Canyon must still carry out additional earthquake evaluations as well as a “walkdown” inspection to identify any near-term actions for enhancing the facility’s earthquake resistance. These measures are included in the NRC’s recent information request to all U.S. nuclear power plants as the agency implements lessons learned from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident.

The research information letter is available in the NRC’s ADAMS electronic document database by entering “ML121230035” in the search engine.

For more on the ongoing seismic studies of the site, see PG&E’s website dedicated to the topic.

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Activity ID: 1002943 Activity Name: NEI Remarketing Safety Activity Group Name: Remarketing Safety First