Diablo Canyon passes safety evaluation

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has issued its safety evaluation report (SER) for the proposed 20-year license renewals for units 1 and 2 at the Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant. Combined, units 1 and 2 generate 2,300 MW. Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) submitted an application to the NRC in November 2009 to extend the licenses by 20 years for each unit.

In April, PG&E requested that the NRC defer issuance of the renewed operating licenses due to a delay in receiving a coastal consistency certification from the state of California. The certification would be issued only after PG&E completes a 3-D seismic study at Diablo Canyon.

In a response letter dated May 31, NRC notified PG&E that future milestones for the review of the license renewal application will be delayed with the exception of the issuance of the SER. The schedule for future milestones will be determined based on a timeline consistent with PG&E’s expected receipt of a coastal consistency certification. The SER will be supplemented, as necessary, prior to finalizing a decision on license renewal.

The license renewal review process proceeds along two tracks, one for review of safety issues and another for environmental issues. The NRC is still reviewing the environmental part of Diablo Canyon's license renewal application. That review must be completed before a final decision is made on the renewal.

The current 40-year operating licenses for units 1 and 2 are due to expire on November 2, 2024, and August 26, 2025, respectively.

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