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The Nuclear Regulatory Commission ought to follow its wise suspension of the Diablo Canyon nuclear plant's operating license by ensuring thoroughly independent review of the California project's design. Only this will meet public concern as expressed by Governor Brown and those thousands of protesters, including more than 1,800 put under arrest, whose September demonstration preceded the suspension. Discovery of design errors in relation to earthquake safety led to the NRC's action, which chairman Nunzio Palladino described as a ''strong sign that the commission doesn't like what it's seen.''

By pressing to be sure that it will like what it sees in the future, the NRC must recognize that public doubts range beyond California. Even with an administration bolstering support for nuclear power, the latest national poll shows a striking drop in the percentage of those who want to see more nuclear plants built.

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