July 16th, 2011

Watch the full episode. See more Need To Know.


In the wake of the devastating tsunami damage to the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant in Japan, seismologists in the United States are focusing on a potentially dangerous fault system near the Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant in California.

Perched over Point Buchon on the Central Coast, the PG&E plant was built four decades ago near two active faults: the Hosgri and the Shoreline. The electricity-generating facility on a barren stretch of coastline is about 12 miles from the college town of San Luis Obispo.

While PG&E maintains the Hosgri and Shoreline are too small to threaten the aging plant, some government scientists suspect the faults – acting with others in the region – could produce an earthquake much more powerful than the plant was built to withstand.

Watch our segment, produced with PBS Need to Know and Capitol Public Radio, to learn more.

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California Watch, the largest investigative journalism team operating in the state, was launched in 2009 by the nonprofit, nonpartisan Center for Investigative Reporting. Areas of coverage include education, health and welfare, public safety, the environment and the influence of money on the political and regulatory process.