Judge hands PG&E double-edged verdict over Diablo Canyon Nuclear Recovery Uprates

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PG&E was denied permission to charge ratepayers $80 million for costs the utility giant estimates it will incur applying for permission to extend the life of the Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant in Avila Beach another 20 years.

Instead, an administrative judge with the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) put PG&E on notice that it first must complete high-energy, three-dimensional offshore studies to determine the exact force and velocity of the new fault line discovered three years ago just a few hundred yards off the coast from the nuclear power plant.

PG&E had requested $80 million in ratepayer funding to pay for its federal license renewal for both reactors at Diablo Canyon.

On Dec. 21, Robert Barnett, an administrative law judge for the California Public Utilities Commission, the state’s chief energy regulating agency, ruled that PG&E’s application shouldn’t be considered until long-awaited seismic studies for the region around the plant are complete.

“With a final seismic studies report expected in December 2015, there is no reason to keep this proceeding open,” Barnett wrote in his ruling. “PG&E would have us suspend this proceeding until it keeps its advanced seismic studies, but offers no substantial reason to suspend rather than close this proceeding.”

With a suspended application, Weisman said, PG&E would have been allowed to use all the data it’s already collected as part of its relicensing application. But because the judge denied the application, he said, PG&E would have to use data collected only after the new seismic studies have been completed.

Likewise, new requirements that PG&E take steps to better cool the water offloaded into the ocean by the reactors might make Diablo Canyon significantly more expensive.

Source: New Times

Source: Independent

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