Newly public documents reveal a truly disturbing safety violation at the Diablo Canyon plant.
According to the documents released by retiring Senator Barbara Boxer (D-California), Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E), the plant’s owner and operator, may have intentionally misled regulators and the public by using outdated seismic data and loss of coolant accident data when certifying the safety of crucial replacement parts, dating all the way back to 1984.
This specific combination of risk factors—loss of cooling and a large earthquake—are the same triggers that led to the March 2011 Fukushima disaster, which continues to be an unmitigated nightmare four years later.
When the Nuclear Regulatory Commission was informed of this safety violation and potentially catastrophic risk in 2011, the regulator appears to have covered up the misdeeds and helped PG&E bury the evidence instead of reprimanding the utility company and forcing them to preform new safety evaluations.
Friends of the Earth, nuclear watchdogs and frequent critics of PG&E, describe this action as “gross negligence,” in a press release, which contains many more deeply troubling revelations stemming from the newly released documents.
A front-page story from March 9, 2015 in the San Francisco Chronicle has more of the truly disturbing details: PG&E overlooked key seismic test at Diablo Canyon nuclear plant.