Another hearing for STP expansion license

An Atomic Safety and Licensing Board (ASLB) panel will conduct an evidentiary hearing Oct. 31 in Rockville, Md., in the South Texas Project Combined License (COL) proceeding. The ASLB is the independent body within the Nuclear Regulatory Commission that presides over proceedings involving the licensing of civilian nuclear facilities, such as nuclear power plants.

This evidentiary hearing will consider a contention (or challenge) originally scheduled to be heard in August but deferred due to the unavoidable absence of an expert witness. The Board has also asked all the parties’ attorneys to be prepared for oral argument on a new proposed contention related to the Fukushima Dai-ichi accident in Japan, although the Board is not certain if such oral argument will be necessary. The hearing will begin at 9:30 a.m. EDT in the Atomic Safety and Licensing Board Panel Hearing Facility, Room T-3B45 in the NRC’s Two White Flint North Building, 11545 Rockville Pike in Rockville.

The session is open for public observation, but participation will be limited to the parties admitted to the proceeding (several public interest groups, the applicant – Nuclear Innovation North America (NINA) – and NRC staff). Early arrival at the NRC’s main visitor entrance in the One White Flint North Building is suggested to allow for security screening for all members of the public interested in attending. NRC policy prohibits signs, banners, posters or displays in the hearing room at any time during the proceeding.

The South Texas Project COL application was submitted Sept. 20, 2007, seeking permission to construct and operate two new nuclear reactors at an existing site near Bay City, Texas. The ASLB granted intervenor standing to the Sustainable Energy and Economic Development (SEED) Coalition, the South Texas Association for Responsible Energy, and Public Citizen, and found they had submitted admissible contentions that challenge the COL application. The contention that will be addressed on Oct. 31 involves the question of whether the application and NRC review properly accounts for energy efficient building code rules in assessing the need for power.

Individuals or groups not admitted to the proceeding can submit “written limited appearance statements” to the ASLB. Anyone wishing to submit a written statement may do so by email to hearingdocket@nrc.gov, by fax to 301-415-1101, or by mail to: Office of the Secretary, Attn. Rulemaking and Adjudications Staff, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington, DC 20555-0001. In addition, copies of written statements should be sent to the Chairman of the Licensing Board by e-mail to Michael.Gibson@nrc.gov and Jonathan.Eser@nrc.gov; by fax to 301-415-5599, or by mail to: Administrative Judge Michael M. Gibson, Atomic Safety and Licensing Board Panel, Mail Stop: T-3F23, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington, D.C. 20555-0001.

Documents related to the South Texas Project COL application are available on the NRC website. Documents pertaining to the ASLB proceeding are available in the agency’s electronic hearing docket. More information about the ASLB can be found at the NRC website.