David Dodd 2:33 a.m., May 19
At a meeting of the California Public Utilities Commission tomorrow morning in San Francisco, San Diego Gas & Electric and Southern California Edison will request permission to bill their ratepayers $64 million for seismic studies. The reports will concern the safety of San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station, which sits near several fault lines. Both companies are stake holders in the plant.
The Alliance for Nuclear Responsibility, a nuclear power watchdog group, questions the price tag the utilities have put on the studies, which are required as part of an attempt to extend the license to operate San Onofre beyond its current expiration in 2022. Alliance Executive Director Rochelle Becker points out that “PG&E requested only $17 million for their seismic studies at Diablo Canyon. We need to see the justification for SCE’s nearly 400 percent increase in costs.” Diablo Canyon is the other operational nuclear plant in California, which is going through the same re-licensing procedure.
The recent Fukushima disaster has brought the issue of earthquake safety near nuclear plants into the spotlight. The Alliance, working to keep awareness of the dangers associated with nuclear power high, is distributing evacuation route warning signs for residents within a 10-20 mile radius of the plant to post. They are also available to individuals who live near proposed transportation routes to move nuclear waste off the San Onofre site.