ASLB Hearing set on new Fermi reactor

An Atomic Safety and Licensing Board (ASLB) will hold a hearing Oct. 30 in Monroe, Mich., concerning a challenge by several environmental groups to the Combined License application for a new nuclear reactor at the Fermi site in Monroe County, Mich. The ASLB is the independent body within the NRC that conducts adjudicatory hearings and renders decisions on legal challenges to licensing actions.

The hearing, which begins at 9:30 a.m. EDT, will be held in the Monroe County Courthouse’s Board Meeting Room, 125 E. Second St. in Monroe. If necessary, the board will continue the hearing through Friday, Nov. 1. Members of the public and media are welcome to observe the evidentiary hearing, but participation in the hearing will be limited to the parties and their lawyers and witnesses. Those planning to attend the evidentiary hearing should arrive at least 15 minutes early to allow time for security screening, including searches of hand-carried items such as briefcases or backpacks. No signs will be permitted in the courtroom.

This hearing involves Detroit Edison’s application to build an Economic Simplified Boiling Water Reactor at the Fermi site. Several environmental groups, including Beyond Nuclear, Citizens for Alternatives to Chemical Contamination, Citizens Environmental, Alliance of Southwestern Ontario, Don’t Waste Michigan and the Sierra Club, filed a legal challenge opposing the application.

The groups argue that the environmental review of the proposed reactor fails to adequately analyze and discuss impacts on the eastern fox snake at the site. The groups also argue that quality assurance concerns regarding safety analysis work by Detroit Edison and its contractor prevent the NRC from issuing a license for the proposed reactor. The hearing will examine these two arguments.