San Francisco, United States — 08 March 2012 – Two nuclear power plants perched near earthquake faults in California could struggle to get relicensed after a cascade of natural and nuclear disasters across the Pacific Ocean in Japan galvanised opposition groups, reports Bloomberg News.
Fukushima-inspired concerns have rippled through Orange County, where the cities of Laguna Beach and San Clemente have asked regulators to decide whether Edison International’s San Onofre atomic plant, 97km southeast of Los Angeles, could withstand an earthquake and tsunami before extending its permit from 2022 to 2042. Further north, PG&E Corp. (PCG) has asked for a delay in relicensing Diablo Canyon pending seismic studies.
“An accident would be devastating” at San Onofre, Laguna Beach Mayor Jane Egly said in an interview in her home overlooking the seaside enclave. “If they don’t do anything to address our safety concerns, I would support shutting it down.”
Nuclear anxiety in the most populous state, a bellwether for political and environmental issues nationwide, is echoing in New York, Ohio, Virginia and Vermont, where local groups oppose operators’ efforts to extend the lives of their plants.
Eleven U.S. power companies including Edison, PG&E, Entergy Corp. (ETR), and Progress Energy Incorporated (PGN), seek 20-year licence extensions to keep 15 atomic generators running through to age 60.
At stake is whether reactors designed in the 1960s and 1970s “’ the same vintage as those overwhelmed by a 9.0-magnitude quake and 14m tsunami in Fukushima, Japan “’ should remain the foundation of a 104-reactor U.S. fleet through to mid- century.
Source: Bloomberg News. For full item click here.