Steven Weissman, a former administrative law judge at the CPUC and current law professor at the University of California, Berkeley, said extending the license would likely open ratepayers up to footing even more than the $5.5 billion bill for the plant thus far.
PG&E built the two-unit, 2,200-megawatt Diablo Canyon plant in 1967 for about $350 million. By 1973, however, oil company scientists had turned up evidence of a large offshore fault 2.8 miles west of the plant, requiring PG&E to spend $2.2 billion on re-engineering to withstand a 7.5-magnitude quake. Then, in 1981, PG&E discovered it had built the seismic supports according to a reversed blueprint, necessitating another $2.2 billion in repairs.
"Clearly the NRC has jurisdiction over safety issues, but where the CPUC comes in is if there are safety issues, it's likely that PG&E will have to spend a lot of additional money to resolve the problems," Weissman said. "If they're going to extend it another 30 years, a lot of parts have worn out; the technology's changed; there's just a need to redo things. The commission arguably should have an ability to say something about it now."
"We're really just kind of looking at those events as anybody else," Raftery said of the situation in Japan. "We're going to continue, obviously, to study that and learn lessons, but it's too early to figure out what's going on in Japan."
Reprinted from Climatewire with permission from Environment & Energy Publishing, LLC. www.eenews.net, 202-628-6500