In the wake of the nuclear disaster that occurred in Japan after a major earthquake rocked the island nation last month, the United States has been exploring the safety not only of its nuclear power plants, but also of nuclear energy, on the whole. Politicians have both stood by nuclear proliferation and also called for a complete halt until more answers are provided regarding safety.
Just weeks after the Japanese earthquake caused radiation leaks and containment issues at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) granted the aging Vermont-based, Entergy Corporation (NYSE: ETR) owned Yankee Nuclear Power plant a 20-year renewal.
Moving in a seemingly different direction, California utility Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E), a subsidiary of PG&E Corporation (NYSE: PCG), has asked the NRC to delay "its final action" on the renewal application submitted for the Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant.
PG&E, in response to mounting concern from its customers about the plant's location in a seismically active region, has initiated a 3-D seismic study. The utility has asked for the delay to give its scientists time to complete their research and submit their findings to the NRC. According to PG&E, it is the only utility in the nation to employ seismic experts.
"We recognize that many in the public have called for this research to be completed before the NRC renews the plant's licenses," John Conway, PG&E's Senior Vice President of Energy Supply and Chief Nuclear Officer.
He added, "Even after we have completed these advanced studies, our geoscientists will continue their ongoing seismic research to give us, our regulators and the public confidence that the plant remains safe."
Image Credit: Courtland Rawson via Flickr
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