Nuclear Regulatory Commissioners reject Fermi 2 reactor license extension hearing: Environmental opponents vow appeal to federal court
The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission's four presiding Commissioners have ruled in favor of a Detroit Edison appeal, overruling their own Atomic Safety and Licensing Board Panel, and cancelling evidentiary hearings requested by environmental groups opposed to the proposed 20-year license extension at Fermi 2 (photo, left). Beyond Nuclear and Don't Waste MI issued a press release, which begins:
Rockville, MD and Monroe County, MI—At a U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commissioners (NRC) meeting this morning at the agency's Rockville, MD headquarters that lasted but a few short minutes, an environmental intervention against the 20-year license extension sought by Detroit Edison at its Fermi Unit 2 atomic reactor in Monroe County, MI was rejected. The NRC Commissioners sided with an appeal by Detroit Edison, and overruled an NRC Atomic Safety and Licensing Board Panel’s (ASLBP) granting of a hearing on a contention brought by a bi-national coalition of environmental groups including Beyond Nuclear, Citizen Environment Alliance of Southwestern Ontario, and Don’t Waste Michigan.
The coalition plans to appeal a significant aspect of the now-terminated proceeding to the federal courts in the near future. Along with its intervention against the proposed new Fermi 3 reactor construction and operations license, Beyond Nuclear as lead plaintiff will appeal NRC’s “Nuclear Waste Confidence” policy at the existing Fermi 2 reactor to the federal D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals. A favorable court ruling would represent a big blow against Detroit Edison’s NRC permit to build Fermi 3, as well as the Fermi 2 license extension.
“This is further proof that NRC stands for ‘Nuclear Rogues, Consistently,” said Kevin Kamps of Beyond Nuclear, a national watchdog group based in Takoma Park, MD. “NRC’s mandate is to protect public health, safety and the environment, but instead, they prioritize industry profits.” (See the full press release here.)
To add insult to injury, at the very same time, the NRC cancelled a years-underway National Academy of Science study on cancer incidence risks near nuclear power plants.