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CA Coastal Panel Mulls Quake Study Near Nuke Plant

California coastal regulators will decide whether to give a utility the go-ahead to use loud air cannons to map offshore earthquakes faults near a nuclear power plant. The California Coastal Commission is set to vote on the issue Wednesday after a public hearing.

Michael A. Mariant, Associated Press

This Monday Nov. 3, 2008 file photo shows one of Pacific Gas and Electric's Diablo Canyon Power Plant's nuclear reactors in Avila Beach on California's central coast.

Environmentalists and fishermen oppose the project, fearing the noise would disturb marine mammals inhabiting the waters off the Diablo Canyon complex.

Even the commission's staff has urged the panel to deny a permit to Pacific Gas & Electric, citing "significant and unavoidable impacts to marine resources." They estimated more than 7,000 mammals would be disrupted by the noise, including fin whales, blue whales, humpback whales and harbor porpoises.

Diablo Canyon is located along the scenic Central Coast and sits within three miles of two earthquake faults.

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