Coastal Commission denies PG&E proposal

In an article we posted in October we outlined Pacific Gas & Electric’s (PG&E’s) plan to apply for permits in order to conduct seismic testing off the coast of San Luis Obispo. The proposal was scheduled to take place over the course of the next 3 years and the tests would have passed through a marine protected zone.

On November 14, the California Coastal Commission denied PG&E’s request for a permit, citing Article 3 of the Coastal Act. Article 3 contains regulations pertaining to marine recreation, and includes a clause protecting oceanfront land suitable for recreation.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) collected a considerable amount of data during its study. They determined that any movement along the Shoreline fault would be within the reactor’s design parameters. PG&E plans to use this data to determine what its next step will be according to John Strickland, PG&E’s manager of nuclear projects.

The proposal was estimated to cost $64 million, and this figure was authorized by the state Public Utilities Commission.

The California State Lands Commission voted to allow the proposed testing in August of this year despite concerns about the impact on people recreating near the testing site.

The NRC has requested that PG&E complete advanced seismic research before it will approve an application to extend the two reactors’ operating licenses beyond 2025. Because of this requirement, it is likely that PG&E will continue to push for a testing permit.

The reactor currently provides roughly 10% of California’s power.


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