Groups file federal appeal against Plant Vogtle expansion


Five environmental groups filed a federal appeal Wednesday that calls for a review of the site permit and work authorization issued to the Southern Company by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) that allows work to begin on two new nuclear reactors at Augusta’s Plant Vogtle.

In the petition, filed in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, the groups contend the NRC violated the Atomic Energy Act, the National Environmental Policy Act, and other laws when it issued an Early Site Permit and a Limited Work Authorization in August.

The petition seeks a “review and reversal” of the permit and the authorization as well as “injunctive relief and any other relief the court deems appropriate.”

The Emory University School of Law’s Turner Environmental Law Clinic and Diane Curran filed the complaint on behalf of Center for a Sustainable Coast, Savannah River Keeper, Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, Georgia Women’s Action for New Directions (WAND), and Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League.

The NRC has not yet granted a combined construction and operating license, which would allow actual construction on the reactors to begin, and is not expected to do so until at least 2011. Even before obtaining the license, the Southern Company must jump through several hoops, including an environmental impact assessment and a safety analysis.

Not to mention the NRC has not yet signed off on the design of the Westinghouse AP-1000 reactor, which is supposed to be the reactor model for Vogtle 3 and 4.

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