Pacific Gas and Electric Co. has asked federal regulators to wait until comprehensive seismic studies are completed before granting the new licenses.
There's been a public outcry over possible safety risks since an earthquake fault was discovered less than half a mile from the site near San Luis Obispo.
At a legislative hearing last month, company officials said the plant was safe and gave no hint that PG&E would agree to complete three-dimensional seismic studies before a renewal of the licenses.
But in a statement Monday, PG&E Senior Vice President John Conway referred to the Japanese crisis and said, "we recognize that many in the public have called for this research to be completed before the NRC renews the plants' licenses. We are being responsive to this concern."
The company wants the NRC to extend the life of the complex for 20 years after its permits expire in 2024 and 2025.
In a letter to the NRC dated Sunday, PG&E said it would be prudent to complete the studies prior to granting new licenses.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.