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Seacoast Anti-Pollution League v. NRC

ELR Citation: 13 ELR 20239
Nos. No. 81-2146, 690 F.2d 1025/(D.C. Cir., 10/08/1982)

The court affirms the Nuclear Regulatory Commission's (NRC's) refusal to order a construction permit revocation hearing on the Seabrook Nuclear Generating Station. Initially, the court holds that NRC's refusal constitutes a final order which the court may review. It then holds that NRC is not required by its regulations to hold a revocation hearing concerning petitioner's claim that the area around the plant could not be evacuated in an emergency because the licensee has not violated its construction permit and the construction itself does not pose a threat to public safety. Evidence of a licensee's inability to provide reasonable assurances that adequate safety measures can be taken in an emergency does not require NRC to hold a revocation hearing. The court holds that NRC's decision not to hold a revocation hearing in the Seabrook case is not arbitrary and capricious because NRC based its decision on a reasonable determination that a feasible emergency plan could be developed during the operating license review stage. Finally, the court rejects petitioner's argument that the licensee's financial investment in the plant will skew the Commission's judgment in favor of granting an operating license regardless of safety considerations. Both the court and NRC have recognized that financial investment is not a proper factor to consider in evaluating the adequacy of safety measures.

Counsel for Petitioner
Robert A. Backus
O'Neill Backus
116 Lowell St., P.O. Box 516, Manchester NH 03105
(603) 668-7272

Counsel for Respondents
Peter R. Steenland Jr., Anne S. Almy, Robert L. Klarquist
Land and Natural Resources Division
Department of Justice, Washington DC 20530
(202) 633-2748

Richard P. Levi, James A. Fitzgerald, Peter G. Crane
Office of the General Counsel
Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington DC 20555
(202) 634-3288

Counsel for Intervenor
Thomas G. Dignan Jr., Robert K. Gad III
Roper & Gray
225 Franklin St., Boston MA 02110
(617) 423-6100

Before TAMM, Circuit Judge, THOMAS E. FAIRCHILD,* Senior Circuit Judge for the Seventh Circuit, and WILKEY, Circuit Judge.