BRODSKY v.

NRC
Summary The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has a legal responsibility to ensure American nuclear reactors are not operated dangerously. There has been widespread concern that it isn't doing what it's supposed to do. Now there's both proof of NRC dysfunction and danger at Indian Point, and a lawsuit is challenging these real dangers. Brodsky v NRC challenges a specific decision by the NRC that "exempted" Indian Point from fire safety requirements that had been on the books for 30 years. In 1980, after a near catastrophic meltdown at the Browns' Ferry Alabama nuclear reactor, the NRC required all nuclear facilities to install fire insulation around the electric cables that control the reactor when it tries to shutdown in an emergency. The NRC’s Rules say that the fire insulation must protect these cables for at least one hour, enough to order and complete a shutdown. Five years ago the NRC discovered that the fire insulation at Indian Point and elsewhere lasted only 27 minutes. Rather than force Entergy, IPs owner, to upgrade the insulation so that it lasts an hour, the NRC secretly granted an "exemption" to the one hour requirement, allowing IP's insulation to last only 24 minutes. That means that a fire at an electric cable has to be discovered, located and extinguished by fire personnel in 24 minutes. In many cases that’s just physically impossible. Richard Brodsky, along with Sierra Club-Atlantic Chapter and the Westchester Citizens Awareness Network have brought a lawsuit in Federal Court to invalidate the 24 minute "exemption" and to stop the NRC from this kind of undoing of safety requirements. What's At Issue? Does the NRC have the power to "exempt" Indian Point from the requirement that electric cables withstand a fire for one hour? Can the NRC issue the "exemption" in secret, with no public notice and no chance for the public to participate in the decision, no Environmental Impact Statement, and in violation of its' own procedures? How many "exemptions" have been issued at Indian Point and elsewhere? Is Indian Point safe? Who's checking up on the NRC? What Do Brodsky, Sierra, and WESTCAN say? The Atomic Energy Act, which gives the NRC all its powers and responsibilities, does not give the NRC the power to issue a fire safety "exemption". The NRC can't make important decisions affecting the public health and safety in secret. The NRC intentionally refused to consider strong evidence that a fire can't be discovered, located and put out in 24 minutes. The "exemption should have been the subject of an Environmental Impact Statement. It would have been relatively easy and cheap to upgrade the insulation. The "exemption" is a clear and present danger to the health and safety of over 20 million people who live close to Indian Point. What Does The NRC Say?

Brodsky v. NRC Overview – September 21, 2011

While the Atomic Energy Act doesn't use the word "exemption" we have an inherent power to issue an "exemption". There's no statutory requirement that we notify the public or hold a hearing or take comment. The Courts should defer to NRC expertise. The 24 minute standard still leaves Indian Point safe. What Happened So Far Brodsky v NRC was first brought to the United State Second Circuit Court of Appeals in New York. (One of the last cases argued before Justice Sotomayor before she became a Supreme Court Justice.) The Court chose not to consider the case and it was sent to the United States Southern District Court in New York. Judge Loretta Preska decided for the NRC, issuing her decision six days before the Fukushima nuclear catastrophe in Japan. The case now goes back to the Second Circuit in New York. The Brief filed by Brodsky, Sierra and WESTCAN contains a factual summary and the legal arguments. It's a strong case. You can read the Brief here. Fukushima has opened the eyes and minds of most Americans to the dangers of Indian Point, and real mismanagement by the NRC. The NRC is to nuclear power today what the SEC was to Wall Street three years ago. This time we won't be able to reverse the damage by throwing a billion dollars at the banks and insurance companies. This meltdown would be real and irreversible

Brodsky v. NRC Overview – September 21, 2011