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Connecticut Light and Power Co. v. Nuclear Regulatory Commission

United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit
673 F.2d 525 (1982)


The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) (defendant) had technical guidelines for assessing the fire-safety measures in place at nuclear power plants. After using these guidelines for several years, the NRC created a comprehensive fire-protection program. The NRC’s notice of proposed rulemaking for the program did not indicate whether a plant with a previously approved fire-safety program would be required to make changes in order to be in compliance with the new regulations. However, the NRC’s final rules applied certain new requirements to all plants. The final rules also required the NRC to grant an exemption from any of the new requirements if a plant could show that a required modification either would not improve, or would be detrimental to, the plant’s overall safety. The NRC’s final-exemption decisions were subject to judicial review. The Connecticut Light and Power Company (Connecticut Light) (plaintiff) challenged the NRC’s imposition of the new requirements under the comprehensive fire-protection program, arguing that the NRC had failed (1) to provide proper notice of proposed rulemaking and (2) to offer sufficient technical justification for the rules the NRC adopted.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Mikva, J.)

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