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Porter County Chapter of the Izaak Walton League of Am. v. NRC

Citation: 9 ELR 20626
No. Nos. 78-1556 et al., 606 F.2d 1363/(D.C. Cir., 09/06/1979)

The court upholds the Nuclear Regulatory Commission's denial of petitions from environmental and citizens groups requesting that an adjudicatory proceeding be instituted to suspend and revoke the construction permit for the Bailly Nuclear Generating Facility. The petitions, filed two years after the issuance of the permit, asserted that new technical problems, recent circumstances, and legal developments required the suspension of the permit pending consideration of this information. The petitions were denied on the grounds that such issues were either currently under review or appropriately deferred for resolution in proceedings for the issuance of an operating license for the plant. The court notes while § 186 of the Atomic Energy Act provides for revocation of licenses or permits for reasons which would warrant the Commission to refuse to grant a license, the Commission has wide discretion in determining whether to institute a revocation proceeding. Because petitioners will have an opportunity to raise safety issues at the future operating license proceeding, the Commission did not abuse its discretion in denying the petitions. The court also rejects petitioners' claims of bias on the grounds that their petitions for revocation were rejected by the same agency officials who issued the construction permit initially. The court notes that the nature of the Commission's staff structure and the need for flexibility in its enforcement and licensing functions show the appropriateness of performing simultaneous investigative and quasi-judicial functions, particularly in non-adjudicatory activities such as this.

Counsel for Petitioners
Robert L. Graham
Jenner & Block
One IBM Plaza, Chicago IL 60611
(312) 222-9350

Robert J. Vollen
109 N. Dearborn St., Chicago IL 60602
(312) 644-1237

Russell R. Eggert, Dean Hansell, Susan N. Sekuler, Ass't Attorneys General; William J. Scott, Attorney General
500 S. 2d St., Springfield IL 62701
(217) 782-1090

Counsel for Respondents
Peter G. Crane; James L. Kelley, Acting General Counsel; Stephen F. Eilperin, Solicitor
Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington DC 20555
(202) 634-3288

Nancy Firestone; Anthony C. Liotta, Acting Ass't Attorney General
Land and Natural Resources Division
Department of Justice, Washington DC 20530
(202) 633-2736

Counsel for Intervenor Northern Indiana Public Service Co.
Charles A. Horsky
Covington & Burling
888 16th St. NW, Washington DC 20005
(202) 452-6000

Before LEVENTHAL, ROBB and WILKEY, Circuit Judges.