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Safety Board Delays Calvert Cliffs 3 Ruling
Rockville, MD - 7/27/2012
By Marty Madden
The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) reported Thursday, July 26 that a three-judge panel has opted to delay for at least a month a decision regarding the Calvert Cliffs 3 project. The Atomic Safety Licensing Board (ASLB) closed the record on testimony from proponents of the project to build a new, European-style reactor at Calvert Cliffs Nuclear Power Plant, and individuals and groups opposing the plan. The ASLB held an evidentiary hearing at the NRC building in Rockville in July 2011 on the opposition’s contention that since the project’s applicant, UniStar Nuclear Energy LLC, is foreign-owned the construction cannot go forward since it would violate federal law.
UniStar’s sole owner, Electricite de France (EDF) is mostly owned by the government of France.
The board closed the public record on the matter back in March and a partial initial decision was due June 4 but delayed until July 27.
“It now appears that due to the intertwined nature of the issues still pending before our board, and the size and complexity of the record from the evidentiary hearing, the board will not be able to meet the July 27 deadline,” stated Administrative Judge Ronald M. Spritzer, the ASLB chairman. “The board expects to issue the partial initial decision on or before Aug. 31.”
“UniStar appreciates the Atomic Safety and Licensing Board’s careful consideration of these contentions in the licensing application for the proposed Calvert Cliffs 3 nuclear energy facility and looks forward to reviewing the decision once issued,” stated UniStar spokesperson Laura Eifler. “UniStar continues to pursue the necessary regulatory and permitting milestones to support the development of Calvert Cliffs 3.As EDF has repeatedly stated, it intends to obtain a U.S. partner for the Calvert Cliffs 3 project.”
Michael Mariotte, executive director of the Nuclear Information and Resource Service and a spokesman for the Calvert Cliffs 3 opponents, said Friday, July 27 that the board's delay wasn't a surprise and is more likely prompted by the panel's pending decision on the protesters' contention that utilization of renewable energy sources--such as wind and solar power--as alternatives to nuclear have not been given sufficient consideration. "It's more complex than they thought," said Mariotte. "They [ASLB] have hundreds of thousands of pages of testimony. They have to look at it in the legal context. It's a difficult one."
Testimony on the project opponents' contention about lack of consideration for renewable energy sources as a better alternative to addressing the nation's need for additional electric power sources was rendered before the ASLB during two days of hearings in Prince Frederick earlier this year.
Contact Marty Madden at firstname.lastname@example.org
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