Hearings planned after call for nuke plant closure


LOS ANGELES (AP) — A U.S. Senate committee is planning hearings on earthquake risks at California's last operating nuclear power plant.

The hearings were announced Monday after The Associated Press disclosed that a senior federal expert is urging regulators to shut down the Diablo Canyon plant until they can determine whether its reactors can withstand powerful shaking from nearby earthquake faults.

U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer — who chairs the Environment and Public Works Committee — says that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission is failing to do its job to protect public safety.

She says she's alarmed that the recommendation by Michael Peck, the NRC's former lead inspector at the plant, was made a year ago and the agency hasn't acted.

The NRC and plant owner Pacific Gas and Electric Co. say the facility is safe.

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