In a decision supporting environmentalists’ concerns about the Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant, the California Public Utilities Commission approved up to $16.73 million to study the earthquake faults near the facility. The investigation is set to use new three-dimensional technology to evaluate potential effects of a temblor on the facility. The August 12 decision gave Diablo’s owner, Pacific Gas & Electric, authority to spend the funds, but it also requires the utility to set up a “peer review” panel to assure independence in how the study is conducted and how the findings are presented. It’s been known since Diablo’s construction that the reactors sit less than three miles from the Hosgri fault. Another, more recently discovered fault, the Shoreline, is even closer to the facility. Environmentalists fear that an earthquake could tear apart Diablo Canyon’s radioactive parts, releasing cancer-causing materials into the environment. Environmentalists, like Mothers for Peace in San Luis Obispo, believe that more scientific studies will keep the nuclear power plant from receiving an extended license to keep it in production until about 2045.