Massachusetts v. U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Comm'n, No. 12-1772 (1st Cir. 2013)Annotate this Case
The Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station in Massachusetts submitted an environmental impact statement (EIS) with its relicensing application in 2006. Before relicensing occurred, an earthquake and tsunami occurred off the coast of Japan, which hit the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. Less than three months later, Massachusetts moved to admit a contention and to reopen the Pilgrim record, arguing that Fukushima revealed new and significant information that the environmental impact analysis needed to address. The Atomic Safety and Licensing Board denied Massachusetts's motion. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) denied the Commonwealth's petition for review, rejecting the Commonwealth's claims that the EIS was inadequate in light of the damage to Fukushima. The Commonwealth also petitioned for review from the NRC's vote to renew the license of the Pilgrim station. The First Circuit Court of Appeals denied the petition for review, holding that the NRC did not act arbitrarily or capriciously by (1) failing to require supplementation of the EIS in light of Fukushima; and (2) declining to hear Massachusetts' rulemaking petition and to complete all the post-Fukushima review before granting the license.