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NIRS and Public Citizen Appeal LES Licensing Decision to Federal Court

August 15, 2006

NIRS and Public Citizen Appeal LES Licensing Decision to Federal Court

    WASHINGTON, D.C. – Nuclear Information and Resource Service (NIRS) and Public Citizen today filed papers with the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C., challenging the license granted for the proposed Louisiana Energy Services (LES) uranium enrichment plant by the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC).

    The NRC granted a construction/operating license for the LES project, which would be located near Eunice, N.M., on June 23 following nearly three years of litigation by NIRS and Public Citizen before an NRC Atomic Safety and Licensing Board and the NRC Commissioners. NIRS and Public Citizen believe that an appeals court review of the case will reveal violations of existing federal laws and regulations, and that the license will be vacated.

    The specific issues to be raised by NIRS and Public Citizen will be contained in a brief to the appeals court that will be determined by the court’s schedule.

    “We believe the NRC made numerous mistakes in approving this project for licensing,” said Michele Boyd, legislative director of Public Citizen’s Energy Program. “We are confident that a federal court – without the bias of the NRC – will agree.”

    “It took LES nearly 17 years and moving from Louisiana to Tennessee to New Mexico to get where they are today,” said Michael Mariotte, executive director of NIRS. “But it’s going to be a lot longer before this story is over. We believe the outstanding issues surrounding the LES project remain so compelling that the court will have no choice but to throw this license out.”