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Natural Resources Defense Council v. NRC

Citation: 12 ELR 20897
No. No. 80-1328, 666 F.2d 595/(D.C. Cir., 10/01/1981)

The court rejects substantive and procedural challenges to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission's (NRC's) amendment of a regulation implementing § 206(a)(2) of the Energy Reorganization Act of 1974, which requires manufacturers of nuclear power plant components to notify the NRC of defects in their products bearing on power plant safety. The court first rejects petitioner's challenge to the NRC's failure to provide notice and comment prior to amending the rule, finding the failure to take that claim to the courts within the statutory 60-day limitation period to constitute a waiver of the objection. On the other hand, the court does have jurisdiction to consider the substantive validity of the amendment, since petitioner filed a timely appeal from the Commission's denial of their petition to reconsider it. On the merits, the court finds the amendment consistent with the requirements of § 206. Given the language of the statute and the deference to which the NRC is entitled in interpreting such a provision, the court finds no reason to reject the Commission's interpretation and read § 206 to extend to the bottommost tier of the procurement chain. A concurring opinion emphasizes that § 206 should not be read to apply only to "major components."

Counsel for Petitioner
Heidi Noun, Richard A. Lowe
Natural Resources Defense Council, Inc.
1725 I St. NW, Suite 600, Washington DC 20006
(202) 223-8210

Counsel for Respondents
Irwin B. Rothschild III, Richard A. Parrish; Stephen F. Eilperin, Solicitor General
Nuclear Regulatory Commission, 1717 H St. NW, Washington DC 20555
(202) 634-1465

Sanford Sagalkin, Acting Ass't Attorney General; Anne S. Almy, James C. Kilbourne
Land and Natural Resources Division
Department of Justice, Washington DC 20530
(202) 633-2718

Before: BAZELON, Senior Circuit Judge, and MACKINNON and EDWARDS, Circuit Judges