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San Luis Obispo Mothers for Peace and Public Citizen, Inc. v. United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission

Topic(s): Hazardous Substances and Environmental Protection
Status: open
Date Of Involvement: 05/11/2007

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Public Citizen and the San Luis Obispo Mothers for Peace challenged the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s “design basis threat” regulation, which describes the types of terrorist threats against which nuclear power plants and certain other facilities must maintain effective security measures. In 2005, Congress ordered the agency to conduct a rulemaking to revise its design basis threat regulation. Based on the explanation in the rulemaking notice, it appears that instead of deciding what threat nuclear reactors are likely to face and requiring them to have security forces capable of meeting that threat, the NRC based the threat on what it thought it was reasonable to require a private security force to defend against. On July 24, 2009, the Ninth Circuit issued its opinion upholding the rule.