Natural Resources Defense Council, Inc. v. U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Com'n, s. 74-1586

Citation685 F.2d 459
Decision Date29 November 1982
Docket NumberNos. 74-1586,77-1448,79-2110 and 79-2131,s. 74-1586
Parties, 18 ERC 1519, 222 U.S.App.D.C. 9, 12 Envtl. L. Rep. 20,465 NATURAL RESOURCES DEFENSE COUNCIL, INC. and Consolidated National Intervenors, Petitioners, v. UNITED STATES NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION and United States of America, Respondents, Baltimore Gas and Electric Co., et al., Intervenors. NATURAL RESOURCES DEFENSE COUNCIL, INC., Petitioner, v. UNITED STATES NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION and United States of America, Respondents, Baltimore Gas and Electric Company, et al., Commonwealth Edison Company, Pacific Legal Foundation, Intervenors. The STATE OF NEW YORK, Petitioner, v. UNITED STATES NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION and the United States of America, Respondents, Commonwealth Edison Company, et al., Tennessee Valley Authority, Baltimore Gas and Electric Co., et al., State of Wisconsin, Intervenors. NATURAL RESOURCES DEFENSE COUNCIL, INC., Petitioner, v. UNITED STATES NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION and United States of America, Respondents, Commonwealth Edison Company, et al., Tennessee Valley Authority, Baltimore Gas and Electric Company, et al., Intervenors.
CourtUnited States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (District of Columbia)

Ronald J. Wilson, Washington, D. C., for Natural Resources Defense Council, petitioner in Nos. 74-1586, 77-1448 and 79-2131. Roger Beers, San Francisco, Cal., also entered an appearance for petitioner, Natural Resources Defense Council.

E. Leo Slaggie, Atty., Nuclear Regulatory Commission, with whom Sanford Sagalkin, Acting Asst. Atty. Gen., David Shilton, Atty. Dept. of Justice, and Stephen F. Eilperin, Sol., Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington, D. C., were on the brief, for respondents. George R. Hyde, Edward J. Shawaker and John J. Zimmerman, Attys., Dept. of Justice, Washington, D. C., also entered appearances for respondents.

Ezra I. Bialik, Asst. Atty. Gen., State of New York, New York City, with whom Robert Abrams, Atty. Gen., State of New York, Albany, N. Y., and Bronson C. LaFollette, Atty. Gen. and Patrick Walsh, Asst. Atty. Gen., State of Wisconsin, Madison, Wis., were on the joint brief, for petitioner, State of New York, and intervenor, State of Wisconsin, in No. 79-2110.

Donald P. Irwin and K. Dennis Sisk, Richmond, Va., were on the brief for intervenors Baltimore Gas and Electric Co. et al., in Nos. 74-1586, 77-1448, 79-2110 and 79-2131. George C. Freeman, Jr., Richmond, Va., also entered an appearance for intervenors, Baltimore Gas and Electric Co. et al.

Herbert S. Sanger, Jr., Gen.Counsel, Lewis E, Wallace, Dep.Gen.Counsel, Charles W. Van Beke and M. Elizabeth Culbreth, Knoxville, Tenn., for intervenor Tennessee Valley Authority in Nos. 79-2110 and 79-2131.

James P. McGranery, Jr. and Margaret R. A. Paradis, Washington, D. C., were on the brief for intervenors and amici curiae, Commonwealth Edison Co., in Nos. 74-1586, 77-1448, 79-2110 and 79-2131. Richard D. Cudahy, Washington, D. C., entered an appearance for intervenor, Commonwealth Edison Co.

Ronald A. Zumbrun, Sacramento, Cal., Raymond M. Momboisse, Albert Ferri, Jr., and Lawrence P. Jones, Washington, D. C., entered appearances for intervenor, Pac. Legal Foundation.

Before BAZELON, Senior Circuit Judge, GEORGE CLIFTON EDWARDS, Jr., * Circuit Judge for the Sixth Circuit, and WILKEY, Circuit Judge.

Opinion for the Court filed by Senior Circuit Judge BAZELON.

Opinion concurring in part and dissenting in part filed by Circuit Judge GEORGE CLIFTON EDWARDS, Jr.

Dissenting opinion filed by Circuit Judge WILKEY.

PER CURIAM:

Judge Bazelon's opinion constitutes the opinion of the court. Judge George Clifton Edwards, Jr., concurs in all but Part IV-D of the opinion, and Judge Wilkey concurs in only Part IV-D.

BAZELON, Senior Circuit Judge:

These consolidated cases involve the continuing efforts of the Nuclear Regulatory Table S-3.--Table of Uranium Fuel Cycle Environment Data 1

Commission (NRC) 1 to establish a system by which to consider and disclose the environmental impact of the uranium fuel cycle in compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). 2 The present controversy centers upon the radiological effluents associated with the "back end" of the fuel cycle: the reprocessing, 3 storage, and "disposal" 4 of spent fuel and other wastes. At issue are three versions-the original, 5 interim, 6 and final versions 7-of the "Table S-3 Rule," which provide a set of numerical values intended to reflect the environmental effects of the uranium fuel cycle. 8 Under the Rule, Table S-3 is to be included in the environmental impact statement (EIS) 9 of each proposed light water nuclear power reactor, and thereby substitute for repeated individualized consideration of the environmental impact of the fuel-cycle activities needed to support each plant. 10

                         (Normalized to model LWR annual fuel requirement (WASH-1248)
                                    or reference reactor year (NUREG-0116))
                -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                         Maximum effect per annual fuel
                Environmental                     Total  requirement or reference reactor
                  considerations                         year of model 1,000 MWe LWR
                -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                         NATURAL RESOURCES USE
                Land (acres)
                  Temporarily committed 2 ......... 100
                    Undisturbed area ............... 79
                    Disturbed area ................. 22  Equivalent to a 110 MWe coal-fired
                                                           power plant
                  Permanently committed ............ 13
                  Overburden moved
                    (millions of MT) .............. 2.8  Equivalent to 95 MWe coal-fired
                                                 ------    power plant
                Water (millions of
                  gallons)
                  Discharged to air ............... 160  =2 percent of model 1,000 MWe LWR
                                                           with cooling tower
                  Discharged to water
                  bodies ....................... 11,090
                  Discharged to ground ............ 127
                                                 ------
                    Total ...................... 11,377  4 percent of model 1,000 MWe LWR
                                                 ------    with once-through cooling
                Fossil fuel:
                  Electrical energy
                    (thousands of MW-hour) ........ 323  5 percent of model 1,000 MWe LWR
                                                           output.
                  Equivalent coal
                    (thousands of MT) ............. 118  Equivalent to the consumption of a 45
                                                           MWe coal-fired power plant.
                  Natural gas
                    (millions of scf) ............. 135  0.4 percent of model 1,000 MWe energy
                                                           output.
                       EFFLUENTS--CHEMICAL (MT)
                Gases (including
                  entrainment): 3
                  SO subx ....................... 4,400
                  NO subx 4 ..................... 1,190  Equivalent to emissions from 45 MWe
                                                           coal-fired plant for a year.
                  Hydrocarbons ..................... 14
                  CO ............................. 29.6
                  Particulates .................. 1,154
                Other gases:
                  F ............................... .67  Principally from UF sub6 production,
                                                           enrichment, and reprocessing.
                                                           Concentration within range of
                                                           state standards--below level
                                                           that has effects on human
                                                           health.
                  HCl ............................ .014
                Liquids:
                  SO- sub4 ........................ 9.9  From enrichment, fuel fabrication,
                  NO- sub3 ....................... 25.8    and reprocessing steps.
                  Fluoride ....................... 12.9    Components that constitute a
                  Cakk ............................ 5.4    potential for adverse environmental
                  Cl- ............................. 8.5    effect are present in dilute
                  Nak ............................ 12.1    concentrations and receive
                  NH sub3 ........................ 10.0    additional dilution by receiving
                  Fe ............................... .4    bodies of water to levels below
                                                           permissible standards.  The
                                                           constituents that require
                                                           dilution and the flow of
                                                           dilution water are:
                                                         NH sub3 --600 cfs.
                                                         NO sub3 --20 cfs.
                                                         Fluoride--70 cfs.
                Tailings solutions
                  (thousands of MT) ............... 240  From mills only--no significant
                                                           effluents to environment.
                Solids ......................... 91,000  Principally from mills--no
                                                           significant effluents to
                                                           environment.
                        EFFLUENTS--RADIOLOGICAL
                               (CURIES)
                Gases (including entrainment):
                  Rn-222 ............................... Presently under reconsideration by the
                                                           Commission.
                  Ra-226 .......................... .02
                  Th-230 .......................... .02
                  Uranium ........................ .034
                  Tritium (thousands) ............ 18.1
                  C-14 ............................. 24
                  Kr-85 (thousands) ............... 400
                  Ru-106 .......................... .14  Principally from fuel reprocessing
                                                           plants.
                  I-129 ........................... 1.3
                  I-131 ........................... .83
                  Tc-99 ................................ Presently under consideration by the
                                                           Commission.
                  Fission products
                    and transuranics ............. .203
...

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