By Jim Shilander
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission denied a petition by a citizens’ group seeking a public hearing to discuss a possible amendment to Southern California Edison’s license to run the facility.
Anti-nuclear advocates have been pushing for a license amendment review as a way to bring “independent” experts in to review the plant’s operations and whether or not the plant should be shut down entirely.
The NRC’s Atomic Safety and Licensing Board denied Citizens Oversight’s request for a hearing to challenge some of the “technical specifications” of SONGS. The board is a quasi-judicial panel of three judges who are independent of the Commissioners and of the NRC staff.
The board denied Citizens Oversight’s objection that the proposed amendments would “relocate” or remove some technical specifications from public view and allow Edison to change them without prior public or NRC review because binding precedent issued by NRC Commissioners in 2001 found that such a relocation was legally proper.
A separate Atomic Safety and Licensing Board of three different judges is considering a hearing request filed by Friends of the Earth, which argues that the NRC’s Confirmatory Action Letter to Edison last year should be treated as a license amendment. Legal briefs are being submitted to that board this month, the agency said, and a decision is not expected until after that time.