Local News

Aug 3, 2010 9:14 PM by Ariel Wesler

Flaws found at Diablo Canyon in simulated attack

Federal inspectors find some potentially signficant security flaws at PG&E's Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant for the first time in its history.

In March, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission simulated a terrorist attack at Diablo Canyon. Since 9-11, the simulated attacks have been conducted every three years. While details are classified, the test identified security problems that were more serious than any prior inspection.

Preliminary results from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission simulated attack show larger security flaws than ever before at the Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant. PG&E says it's already taken action.

"The issues that have been identified during the inspection were already addressed before the inspectors left the site," said Paul Flake, PG&E Manager of Nuclear Commmunication.

But that's not good enough for Jane Swanson. She's part of a local watchdog group called Mothers for Peace.

"Saying that it will be corrected does not guarantee that the problem won't pop up again. That is the pattern we've been observing," Swanson said.

In the past, the power plant has had violations categorized as green or having very low security risks, but this year, the NRC's initial results show higher level violations--meaning they could be white, yellow, or even red--the most serious.

"The potential consequences of an attack on the nuclear power plant are much more sever than those of the BP oil spill," Swanson said.

For security reasons, neither the N.R.C. nor Diablo Canyon would identify where the violations occured.

"It's not a pass or fail test. It's a learning process for them and us, but it's designed to increase their ability to defend the plant. . .We are confident that the plant is safe and secure," said Victor Dricks, a spokesperson with the N.R.C.

"Every single day, we focus our efforts on trying to make sure the plant remains secure and safe, not just for the employees at the plant, but for everybody," Flake said.

PG&E officials have requested a meeting in the upcoming months with the federal agency. At that time, they will have the chance to present more information to show they are in compliance with all security requirements.

The N.R.C. says the conference will not be open to the public. The agency will make a final decision about the violations after further review.

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