Massachusetts Attorney General Appeals NRC Seabrook Licensing
WASHINGTON (AP) _ Opponents of the Seabrook nuclear plant Wednesday appealed the Nuclear Regulatory Commission decision allowing the plant to operate commercially.
Massachusetts Attorney General James Shannon and two other anti-nuclear groups argue that thousands of residents and beachgoers near the New Hampshire plant would be unable to escape in a nuclear emergency. They also contend that the NRC ignored that very conclusion made by a lower-level agency board.
The appeal marks the beginning of the final chapter in the 20-year battle over Seabrook. It asks a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals here for an immediate stay and a motion for the court to revoke the license and send the issue back to the NRC for further consideration.
The New England Coalition on Nuclear Power and the Seacoast Anti-Pollution League joined the lawsuit.
″The commission has violated the intent of Congress and its own regulations by finding this is an adequate evacuation plan,″ said league attorney Robert Backus.
″We badly need some judges who have a great deal of fortitude,″ he said. ″They are going to be asked to deal with a juggernaut.″
Plant officials predicted the appeals will fail.
″We don’t believe that there would be any reason to further delay the operation of Seabrook,″ said plant spokesman Ron Sher.
The NRC had no immediate comment.
″We’ll have to file our own reply. When that will happen, I don’t know,″ said NRC spokesman John Kopeck.
The NRC voted 3-0 last Thursday to grant Seabrook a full-power license. The $6.5 billion plant has been tested at low power but has not been allowed to operate at full throttle. The NRC placed a hold on the license for up to 14 days to allow time for appeals.
Opponents said the NRC ignored a November ruling by its own Atomic Safety and Licensing Appeal Board.
In that ruling, the board raised concerns about several aspects of the New Hampshire evacuation plan, including the adequacy of shelter for beachgoers and the question of whether teachers would stay with their students in an emergency.