NRC's Environmental Analysis of Nuclear Accidents: Is it adequate?




Entwisle, Elizabeth and David Wexler

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Environmental Law Institute


This report evaluates the adequacy of accident analyses in environmental impact statements (EISs) for nuclear power plants. It begins with a review of the regulations and policies promulgated by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), its predecessor, the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC), and the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ), governing nuclear accident analyses in EISs.[...Part 2 of this report surveys the accident analyses in 149 EISs prepared by AEC and NRC in the past ten years. An overview of the actual scope and depth of accident analyses in typical EISs is presented....The third part of this report is an assessment of the legal and scientific foundations of NRC's accident analysis policy....The legal and pragmatic reasons for fuller EIS accident analysis are presented in Part 4....The final part of this study presents several recommendations for improving the content of EIS accident analyses, as well as methods for implementing these recommendations....In order to implement the content changes, we recommend that the NRC undertake the following actions prior to lifting its de facto moratorium on the licensing of new plants for construction and operation.... We do not address the issue of whether NRC should exercise its authority to suspend a plant's operating license pending NEPA compliance. This question is beyond the scope of the report. In general, this reports recommendations are intended to ensure that the dual mandates of NEPA requiring full public disclosure and well-informed decision making are complied with the fullest extent possible.


124 pgs.


U.S. Nuclear Regulatory commission, nuclear power plants, safety measures