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New Jersey Environmental Federation v. United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission,

ELR Citation: 41 ELR 20176
Nos. No. 09-2567, (3d Cir. , 05/18/2011)

The Third Circuit denied environmental groups' petition for review of an NRC decision granting a license renewal for the Oyster Creek Nuclear Generating Station. The groups, who intervened in the license renewal proceedings, offered several contentions challenging the licensee's plans to detect corrosion in a safety structure at Oyster Creek. The Atomic Safety and Licensing Board admitted one of these contentions, denied several others, and ultimately determined that the admitted contention lacked merit. The NRC then affirmed the Board's decisions and granted the license renewal application. The groups now assert that the Board and the NRC committed various procedural errors in denying their contentions and failed to make the safety findings required to issue a renewed license. But the Board and the NRC provided hundreds of pages detailing their decisionmaking and gave due consideration to the groups' concerns. The NRC provided a credible rationale and substantial factual basis for its decision, and the groups failed to demonstrate that the NRC's conclusions were an abuse of discretion. While the court commended the groups for their diligence in bringing the issues to the attention of the Board and the NRC, the court refused to second-guess technical decisions within the realm of the NRC's unique expertise.