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Environmental Group Wants Diablo Canyon Shut Down During Earthquake Risk Review

LOS ANGELES (AP) — An environmental group asked federal regulators Tuesday to idle a California nuclear plant to review potential earthquake risks.

Friends of the Earth — an advocacy group critical of the nuclear power industry — filed a petition with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission asking for a hearing and charging the Diablo Canyon plant is violating its operating license.

Nearby earthquake faults pose "a serious safety risk to the public and the environment," the 92-page petition said.

The NRC, which oversees the nation's commercial nuclear power industry, and Diablo Canyon owner Pacific Gas and Electric Co., have said the nearly three-decade-old reactors, which produce enough electricity for more than 3 million people annually, are safe and that the facility complies with its operating license, including earthquake safety standards.

A statement from NRC spokeswoman Lara Uselding said the agency "will review it according to its procedures and respond accordingly." PG&E said it was reviewing the petition and would comment later Tuesday.

The group argues the reactors located between Los Angeles and San Francisco should remain closed until a rigorous safety review is completed and PG&E amends its federal license.

The petition was filed after The Associated Press disclosed Monday that a federal nuclear expert is urging the NRC to shut down the seaside plant until it can determine whether its reactors can withstand shaking from nearby faults.

Following the AP report, the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee announced it would hold hearings into how the NRC has handled that recommendation.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


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