U.S. NRC Commissioners deny appeal on QA at Fermi 3, but binational environmental intervenors vow to fight on
On Dec. 16th, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission's (NRC) five Commissioners, in a unanimous ruling, denied an environmental coalition's appeal in the NRC Atomic Safety and Licensing Board (ASLB) proceeding on Detroit Edison's (DTE) proposed new Fermi 3 reactor in southeast MI on the Lake Erie shore. The binational coalition includes the Canadian group Citizens Environment Alliance of Southwestern Ontario, as well as the U.S. groups Beyond Nuclear, Citizens for Alternatives to Chemical Contamination, Don't Waste Michigan, and Sierra Club Michigan Chapter.
DTE proposes to construct and operate an untested General Electric-Hitachi (GEH), so-called "Economic, Simplified Boiling Water Reactor" (ESBWR) on the very spot where Fermi 1 had a partial meltdown in 1966, immediately adjacent to the Fukushima Daiichi twin-design Fermi 2, a GE Mark I BWR.
The coalition requested reconsideration of the ASLB's June 2014 ruling that DTE's Fermi 3 quality assurance (QA) program was adequate, reasserting its preponderence of evidence -- including the testimony of Fairewinds Associates, Inc.'s Chief Engineer, Arnie Gundersen -- that DTE's QA program was in fact in disarray, or even non-existent. The coalition intends to appeal this NRC ruling, and other pending matters, to the federal courts, if need be.
In addition to Fermi 3 on the U.S./Canadian border, GEH has announced that more than a dozen more ESBWRs are on the drawing boards, from North Anna, Virginia, to India and China.