US SUPREME COURT RULES IN FAVOR OF MOTHERS FOR PEACE
Today, January 16, 2007, the United States Supreme Court ruled against Pacific Gas and Electric Company’s (PG&E’s) petition for a writ of certiorari seeking review of the June 2, 2006 ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in San Luis Obispo Mothers for Peace v. NRC, 449 F.3d 1016. The Supreme Court’s rejection of PG&E’s petition means that the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) must carry out the Ninth Circuit’s mandate to consider the environmental impacts of intentional attacks on the proposed dry cask storage installation at Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant in California.PG&E had asked the Supreme Court to review the Ninth Circuit’s ruling that, in order to comply with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), the NRC must consider the environmental impacts of terrorist attacks before it licenses the new facility.
The San Luis Obispo Mothers for Peace, a local group that has actively opposed the Diablo Canyon nuclear plant since 1973, is extremely pleased that logic prevailed in this important court ruling, which sends the NRC back to the drawing board to complete the Environmental Impact Statement. The group hopes that effective mitigations will be put in place to provide defenses against possible air attack. MFP spokesperson, Jane Swanson, is elated with the Court’s decision. “After the events of September 11, 2001, it is only reasonable that the significant health and environmental risks of terrorist attacks be considered when designing and building nuclear facilities. Now, after years of resistance, the NRC and PG&E are forced to address these concerns.”
MFP’s attorney, Diane Curran, said that she expects the NRC to issue a new environmental review document that addresses the impacts of an intentional attack on the proposed facility. In the meantime, PG&E is precluded by law from loading fuel into the new facility.