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Regulator ?Too Cozy? with Nuclear Industry, Allows NEI to Rewrite Commission Policy

?May 25, 1999

Regulator ?Too Cozy? with Nuclear Industry, Allows
NEI to Rewrite Commission Policy

NRC Must Give Public Opportunity to Review, Comment

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has provided the Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI) with an exclusive opportunity to rewrite the commission?s policy governing Generic Communications, Public Citizen said today.

Public Citizen?s Critical Mass Energy Project has learned that the policy paper, which has not been issued for public comment, was exclusively provided to the Nuclear Energy Institute. The consumer watchdog organization called upon the NRC to halt this practice and to withhold the policy paper until the public has an equal opportunity to review the policy and comment.

“Once again the Nuclear Regulatory Commission has abdicated its regulatory responsibility to the nuclear industry,” said Wenonah Hauter, director of Public Citizen?s Critical Mass Energy Project. “The NRC is supposed to be regulating the nuclear industry, not the other way around.”

The issue papers, known as SECY papers, are the primary decision-making tool of the commission. Public Citizen believes that it is improper for the nuclear industry to have an exclusive opportunity to review and alter their contents. At the very least the practice violates two of the NRC?s Principles of Good Regulation: Independence and Openness.

“The NRC often has been accused of being ?too cozy? with the nuclear industry,” said James Riccio, staff attorney for Critical Mass Energy Project. “Allowing NEI to exclusively comment on and alter NRC policy papers only supports the impression that the NRC has been captured by the industry it is supposed to regulate.”