NRC Commissioners refuse to re-open Fermi 2 record; Beyond Nuclear will appeal to federal court on Nuke Waste Con Game
In an Atomic Scrooge move of their own, the four U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission Commissioners voted unanimously to deny Beyond Nuclear's motion to re-open the record in the Fermi 2 license extension proceeding, because it relies on an illegal Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement.
Fermi 2 is a General Electric Mark I boiling water reactor, identical in design to Fukushima Daiichi Units 1 to 4. However Fermi 2 is super-sized, nearly as large as Fukushima Daiichi Units 1 and 2 put together. Detroit Edison has applied for a 2025-2045 license extension at Fermi 2, and NRC appears to be very amenable to rubber-stamping that.
Beyond Nuclear attended the hastily scheduled NRC Commissioners Affirmation Session at the agency's HQ. The Fermi 2 portion of the meeting last 30 seconds.
In dispute is NRC's Continued Storage of Spent Nuclear Fuel Generic Environmental Impact Statement and Rule. This NRC policy was formerly called Nuclear Waste Confidence, which critics renamed the Nuke Waste Con Game.
Beyond Nuclear will now appeal this NRC decision to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, the second highest court in the land, just beneath the U.S. Supreme Court. There, the case will be joined with many others, focused on the same issue, in a case called New York v. NRC II.
The New York v. NRC I ruling was issued by the D.C. Circuit in June 2012. Ruling in favor of an environmental coalition, and alliance of states and an Indian tribe (the Prairie Island Indian Community of Minnesota), the court ordered NRC to undertake an Environmental Impact Statement, due to the illegality of its Nuclear Waste Confidence policy.
The Continued Storage of Spent Nuclear Fuel GEIS and Rule are the result. But the same environmental coalition, and alliance of states and the Prairie Island Indian Community are back, alleging that NRC's final product flouts the previous court order, and is still in violation of various laws (National Environmental Policy Act, Atomic Energy Act, Administrative Procedures Act).
Beyond Nuclear is honored to be one of nine environmental groups, bringing 17 NRC licensing proceedings before the D.C. Court of Appeals. Beyond Nuclear's proceedings include the Davis-Besse license extension in OH, the Fermi 2 license extension in MI, and the Fermi 3 proposed new reactor license.
Toledo attorney Terry Lodge serves as Beyond Nuclear's legal counsel in all three proceedings. D.C. attorney Diane Curran, and Atlantic attorney Mindy Goldstein of the Turner Environmental Law Clinic at Emory University, serve as Beyond Nuclear's legal counsel in New York v. NRC II.
Oral arguments are scheduled for New York v. NRC II on February 22, 2016.
Another victory would enable us to seek suspension of licensing proceedings still underway, and reversal of license proceedings already completed -- until NRC addresses the illegalities of its Nuke Waste Con Game.
Beyond Nuclear's intervention coalition parters at Fermi 2 include Citizens Environment Alliance of Southwestern Ontario (CEA) and Don't Waste Michigan (DWM). Our intervention partners at Fermi 3 include CEA, DWM, as well as Citizens for Alternatives to Chemical Contamination, and Sierra Club Michigan Chapter. At Davis-Besse, in addition to CEA and DWM, our intervention coalition also includes Ohio Green Party (and Sierra Club joined us in a separate intervention, against risky steam generator replacements).
In related Fermi 2 news, the coalition has requested the full time it deserves, under law and regulation, to submit comments on NRC's Draft Supplemental EIS in the license extension proceeding. The NRC's arbitrarily short deadline was set for Dec. 28, but NRC has agreed to consider comments received by Jan. 5. Beyond Nuclear plans to submit comments.