At California Nuclear Plant, Earthquake Response Plan Not Required
As the world’s attention remains focused on the nuclear calamity
unfolding in Japan, American nuclear regulators and industry
lobbyists have been offering assurances that plants in the United
States are designed to withstand major earthquakes.
But the Diablo Canyon nuclear plant, which sits less than a mile from
an offshore fault line, was not required to include earthquakes in
its emergency response plan as a condition of being granted its
license more than a quarter of a century ago. Though experts warned
from the beginning that the plant would be vulnerable to an
earthquake, asserting 25 years ago that it required an emergency plan
as a condition of its license, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission
fought against making such a provision mandatory as it allowed the
facility to be built.