NRC to hear arguments against Diablo Canyon ISFSI license renewal

April 25, 2023, 9:36AMRadwaste Solutions
The Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission announced that an agency licensing board will hold oral arguments in a challenge to Pacific Gas and Electric’s application to renew its license for the Diablo Canyon independent spent fuel storage installation in California.

The arguments, which will be open to the public, will be heard by an NRC Atomic Safety and Licensing Board on May 24 beginning at 1 p.m. eastern time.

Background: In March 2022, PG&E applied for a 40-year renewal of its site-specific ISFSI license for Diablo Canyon. The current license expires March 22, 2024. San Luis Obispo Mothers for Peace has petitioned for an adjudicatory hearing to challenge aspects of the application.

The ASLB, which is composed of three administrative judges from the NRC’s Atomic Safety and Licensing Board Panel, will hear arguments from the petitioner, PG&E, and the NRC staff. NRC boards conduct adjudicatory hearings on agency licensing and enforcement actions, and its members are independent of the NRC staff. A board’s ruling may be appealed to the commission, the five-member body that sets NRC policy.

Other challenges: San Luis Obispo Mothers for Peace and other groups have also petitioned the NRC to deny PG&E’s request to file a new license renewal application for the two-unit nuclear power plant. PG&E had sought to renew Diablo Canyon’s license in 2009 but withdrew that application in 2018 after announcing plans to close the plant. In January, the NRC denied PG&E’s request to resume reviewing the 2009 application but opened the door for the company to apply for “timely renewal” protections to file a new application.

Listening in: The oral argument will be held in the Atomic Safety and Licensing Board Panel Hearing Room at NRC headquarters in Rockville, Md., and members of the public may attend. Members of the public who wish to listen to the oral argument on a listen-only telephone line should contact the board’s law clerk, Noel Johnson, at for the telephone number and passcode.

The oral argument will be transcribed and the transcript posted in the Electronic Hearing Docket on the NRC website.

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