California lawmaker joins calls for nuclear reviews

WASHINGTON Thu Mar 24, 2011 8:05pm GMT

A flock of goats walk on a hillside above Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant at Avila Beach, California in this June 22, 2005 file photograph. REUTERS/Phil Klein/Files

A flock of goats walk on a hillside above Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant at Avila Beach, California in this June 22, 2005 file photograph.

Credit: Reuters/Phil Klein/Files

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A California lawmaker has joined a growing cadre of West Coast politicians calling for more scrutiny from the top U.S. nuclear regulator in response to the situation at Japan's Fukushima plant.

Rep. Lois Capps, a Democrat, asked the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to refuse the license renewal for Diablo Canyon Power Plant, a nuclear-power generator in Capps's district, until an independent study can be conducted of fault lines in the area.

Japan's Fukushima nuclear plant lost power after being slammed by an earthquake and tsunami, and the Japanese government had to scramble to prevent a major meltdown.

"After the energy industry catastrophes we've seen during the last year that cost lives and billions of dollars in economic and environmental damages, we cannot accept with blind faith any industry's assurances that it can prevent, or respond to, a disaster involving earthquakes," Capps said in a statement.

The U.S. nuclear regulator has already approved a plan for a safety review of U.S. nuclear reactors, a study California senators Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein sought.

The two have asked the commission to inspect both Diablo Canyon and San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station, which is also in California.

A series of polls released in the wake of the Japan crisis indicate public support for expanding the U.S. nuclear program was fading.

(Reporting by Emily Stephenson; Editing by David Gregorio)

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