A landmark decision was issued today by the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in favor of Mothers for Peace and nuclear security.

At issue is whether the potential for acts of terrorism and sabotage must be considered in the Environmental Impact Statement for nuclear facilities.

It finds that acts of terrorism are not "remote and speculative" as claimed by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and Pacific Gas & Electric and must be considered in weighing environmental impacts as required by the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).

On August 13, 2001, Georgians Against Nuclear Energy intervened before the NRC challenging the lack of consideration of terrorism and insider sabotage for the MOX plutonium fuel factory at Savannah River Site.

 GANE's challenge was based on comments from the State of Georgia (Jim Hardeman, 1999) in the DOE EIS for Surplus Plutonium Disposition.

 In accepting GANE's security contention for public hearing the NRC's panel of judges said: "Regardless of how foreseeable terrorist acts that could cause a beyond [design] basis accident were prior to the terrorist acts of September 11, 2001, involving the deliberate crash of hijacked jumbo jets into the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York City and the Pentagon in the Nation's Capitol killing thousands of people, it can no longer be argued that terrorist attacks of heretofore unimagined scope and sophistication against previously unimaginable targets are not reasonably foreseeable." (Judge Thomas S. Moore 12/6/01)

Public interest attorney Diane Curran subsequently represented GANE (-MOX plus Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League-Catawba relicensing, Nuclear Information Resource Service-McGuire relicensing, Connecticut Coalition Against Millstone-spent fuel pool expansion, State of Utah-Private Fuel Storage, and San Luis Obispo Mothers for Peace-Diablo dry cask storage) with Dr. Gordon Thompson serving as expert witness to force the NRC to analyze the environmental impacts of terrorism at the respective sites.

The contentions were ultimately passed up to the Commission which denied considering them.

San Luis Obispo Mothers for Peace's case took the NRC to Federal appeals court and won the unprecedented decision today.

The Mothers, strongly led by Rochelle Becker, was joined in its suit by, among others, Sierra Club, San Luis Obispo County, and the States of California, Washington, Utah and Massachusetts.

It was a long, expensive battle with tremendous popular support.

The Federal court said, "We hold only that the NRCıs stated reasons for categorically refusing to consider the possibility of terrorist attacks cannot withstand appellate review based on the record before us. ...because we conclude that the NRCıs determination that NEPA does not require a consideration of the environmental impact of terrorist attacks does not satisfy reasonableness review, we hold that the EA prepared in reliance on that determination is inadequate and fails to comply with NEPAıs mandate." (Sidney R. Thomas, 6/2/06)

Many, many, many people and organizations have contributed to this watershed.

Sure the appeal has been filed already, but the precedent is also written. I was wondering, is it retroactive? Doesn't it require all existing facilities to conduct as EIS with respect to terrorism?

Will we be having environmental impact scoping and comment hearings at every nuclear facility in the country?

 A government-sponsored forum for citizens to say, "Nah. We're over THIS nuke!"


Glenn Carroll Coordinator NUCLEAR WATCH SOUTH (aka GANE - Georgians Against Nuclear Energy)

 P.O. Box 8574 Atlanta, GA 31106

PHONE/FAX: 404-378-4263