Appeals court rejects bid to block power plant relicensing

A federal appeals court ruled today against environmental groups’ bid to have a nuclear power plant’s relicensing permits overturned.

The Third Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia rejected an attempt by organizations including the Sierra Club to block relicensing of Oyster Creek power plant on safety issues.

The N.J. Sierra Club was disappointed in the ruling.

“We had hoped given what has been unfolding in Japan the courts would have taken a more skeptical look at the NRC relicensing,” Club Director Jeff Tittel said. “The court found that Congress under the Atomic Energy Act gave broad authority to NRC for the regulation of the nuclear power industry. Therefore the court felt they had to defer to the agency. The biggest problem citizens face in challenging these facilities is a law designed to protect the nuclear industry over public health and safety.”

“The court, the NRC, and Congress are doing exactly what was done in Japan, ignoring safety issues,” said Janet Tauro, chair of the NJ Environmental Federation, one of the citizens groups involved in the litigation. “We are running risks too similar to those at Fukushima, and who wants to take the chance that our luck is going to hold out.”

A spokesperson from Oyster Creek operator Exelon could not be reached immediately for reaction to the decision. Appeals court rejects bid to block power plant relicensing