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Citizens Awareness Network v. NRC

ELR Citation: 24 ELR 21602
Nos. No. 94-30071-MAP, 854 F. Supp. 16/38 ERC 1929/(D. Mass., 05/20/1994)

The court holds that it lacks jurisdiction to hear a citizen group's request for a preliminary injunction against the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) to prevent further implementation of the early component removal plan for decommissioning the Yankee Rowe nuclear power plant and to enjoin the disassembly and shipment of nuclear waste to a treatment facility. When the plant notified the NRC of its decision to close, the NRC issued the plant a "possession only" license and informed the plant that the license permitted it to carry out its early component removal plant before the NRC formally approved the final decommissioning plan and prepared an environmental impact statement under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). The court first holds that the suit is in essence challenging a final order by the NRC in a licensing or related proceeding, over which the Hobbs Act vests exclusive jurisdiction in the court of appeals. Despite the group's citation of NEPA, the complaint actually attacks the NRC's final decision that the possession only license allows early component removal of nuclear waste without amendment to the license and without formal environmental review. The court holds that in order to determine whether the NRC engaged in major federal action for purposes of NEPA, the court must address the NRC's position that the license authorized the plant to engage in decommissioning activities before final approval of a decommissioning plan. The court holds that judicial review of this decision must rest with the court of appeals. The court also holds that in the court of appeals the group may challenge the NRC's decision that the group is not entitled to an adjudicatory hearing regarding the early component removal plan.

Counsel for Plaintiff
Robert L. Quinn
Egan, Flanagan & Cohen
67 Market St., P.O. Box 9035, Springfield MA 01102
(413) 737-0260

Counsel for Defendant
Karen L. Goodwin, Ass't U.S. Attorney
U.S. Attorney's Office
1550 Main St., Rm. 310, Springfield MA 01103
(413) 785-0235