Nuclear Plant License Renewal Controversial : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

It would appear that the NRC is changing the way that nuclear plants are going to be regulated.

It has been a controversial era almost from the start, and the controversy continues as Calvert Cliffs seeks its license renewal.

Under political pressure to cut red tape, the NRC says it will not hold formal public hearings on the application. The NRC says its decision will speed the process  and clear the way for other plants to seek license renewal. Without hearings, the NRC says, it can shave one to three years off the renewal process and make a decision within 29 months.

Critics say the agency is ignoring the public in a decision that could affect public health and safety.

"The public hearing process is unquestionably at the heart of nuclear safety," said Stephen Kohn, of the National Whistleblowers Center, which has filed a complaint in the U.S. Court of Appeals to force a public hearing. "For the NRC to bypass that, is just outrageous."

The NRC shifted to a fast track after threats from Congress and persuasion from utilities, which are facing competition in deregulated markets and need to know as they craft business strategy whether their nuclear plants will be running years from now.

"We're cognizant of the concerns expressed by Congress and the nuclear industry that a drawn-out hearing process could delay business decisions that they need to make to try to position themselves in a competitive marketplace," said Neil A. Sheehan, an NRC spokesman. "We're not the only agency that's been told to streamline. ... We are not going to apologize for that."

The entire article is well worth the read. Once again there seems to be a shift towards allowing individual entities to self-regulate. I do not think that is wise in the nuke field. (My opinion)

-- Mike Lang (, April 01, 1999

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