Coastal Commission Considers Seismic Studies Near Nuclear Plant

Tuesday, November 13, 2012
By Alison St John

The California Coastal Commission meets in Santa Monica on Wednesday to consider whether to issue permits for seismic studies off California's coastline.

The studies are to find out more about the risk that earthquake faults deep beneath the ocean floor could threaten Diablo Canyon and San Onofre.

The companies that operate the two nuclear power plants, PG & E and Southern California Edison, want the multi-million dollar studies done soon. Their license renewals depend on it.

But Rochelle Becker of the Alliance for Nuclear Responsibility said objections have surfaced that may mean the initial research into fault lines near Diablo Canyon has to be postponed.

"The marine experts, who came in rather late on their concerns for the seismic studies, hadn’t been there at the beginning to say, ‘before you do the scope, you need to consider a myriad of impacts that will happen to marine life.’”

Commission staff write that powerful acoustic pulses from air guns used to identify faults deep beneath the sea bed would harm marine life, specifically Morro Bay dolphins.

Proposed studies off the coast near San Onofre north of San Diego face similar issues.