Amadeusz Juskowiak

Agency votes to end local nuclear plant veto

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission NRC proposed to ease evacuation standards for nuclear plants which could lead the way to the licensing of controversial plants in New York and New Hampshire

The NRC voted 41 to offer the rule for 60 days of public comment before it reconsidered it and set emergency evacuation standards of its own

Local authorites at the plants at Shoreham Long Island NY and Seabrook NH had refused to take part in evacuation planning as required under existing NRC rules

They had claimed the region was too populated for any safe evacuation plan holding up the NRCs authority to issue full power licenses of the two multibillon dollar plants

A group of prominent politicians led by New York Governor Mario Cuomo charged at a public meeting on the proposed plan on Tuesday that NRC members were more interested in protecting the utiltiesinvestments than protecting public safety

An NRC spokesman said after the meeting that the agency had not yet scheduled a meeting to vote on the proposed plan

In a statement today announcing its vote the commission said the proposed rule change would enable the NRC to act in cases where local authorities refused to take part in emergency evacuation planning