Pacific Gas & Electric Co. v. State Energy Resources Conservation & Development Commn.
United States Supreme Court
461 U.S. 190 (1983)
The United States as a whole has made significant efforts to use atomic power as an alternative source of energy. However, the use of atomic energy produces highly radioactive waste that must be stored in nuclear power plants and storage facilities. California passed the Warren-Alquist Act to help regulate the storage and disposal of nuclear waste. Section 25524.1(b) of the Act provided that before a nuclear power plant could be built, the State Energy Resources Conservation and Development Commission (defendant) had to determine on a case-by-case basis that there would be "adequate capacity" for interim storage of the plant's spent fuel at the time the plant required such storage. Section 25524.2 of the Act imposed a moratorium on the certification of new nuclear plants until the State Commission found that there had been developed, and that the United States, through its authorized agency, approved a demonstrated technology or means for the permanent and terminal disposal of high-level nuclear wastes. Pacific Gas & Electric Co. (PG&E) (plaintiff), a nuclear power producer, filed suit in federal district court seeking to enjoin enforcement of the California regulations, alleging that the regulations were preempted under the Supremacy Clause of the Constitution by the Atomic Energy Act of 1954 (AEA). The district court held that both Sections 25524.1(b) and 25524.2 were preempted by the AEA. On appeal, the circuit court of appeals reversed and held that Section 25524.1(b) was not ripe for review, and that Section 25524.2 was ripe for review but was not preempted by the AEA. The United States Supreme Court granted certiorari.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (White, J.)
Concurrence (Blackmun, J.)
What to do next…
Unlock this case brief with a free (no-commitment) trial membership of Quimbee.
You’ll be in good company: Quimbee is one of the most widely used and trusted sites for law students, serving more than 97,000 law students since 2011. Some law schools—such as Yale, Vanderbilt, Berkeley, and the University of Illinois—even subscribe directly to Quimbee for all their law students. Read our student testimonials.
Learn more about Quimbee’s unique (and proven) approach to achieving great grades at law school.
Quimbee is a company hell-bent on one thing: helping you get an “A” in every course you take in law school, so you can graduate at the top of your class and get a high-paying law job. We’re not just a study aid for law students; we’re the study aid for law students. Read more about Quimbee.
Here's why 174,000 law students have relied on our case briefs:
- Written by law professors and practitioners, not other law students. 14,000 briefs, keyed to 188 casebooks. Top-notch customer support.
- The right amount of information, includes the facts, issues, rule of law, holding and reasoning, and any concurrences and dissents.
- Access in your classes, works on your mobile and tablet. Massive library of related video lessons and high quality multiple-choice questions.
- Easy to use, uniform format for every case brief. Written in plain English, not in legalese. Our briefs summarize and simplify; they don’t just repeat the court’s language.