Nine environmental groups say they will ask a U.S. court to delay Southern Co. (SO:US)’s construction of two reactors in Georgia after federal regulators denied their bid to halt the $14 billion project.
The Southern Alliance for Clean Energy and Friends of the Earth are among groups that said they intend to ask the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington by April 18 to halt construction at Southern’s Vogtle plant while the court considers a previous legal challenge over the units.
The five-member Nuclear Regulatory Commission, which approved a license for the reactor on Feb. 9, today unanimously rejected the groups’ petition challenging the decision. The NRC action cleared the way to seek court action.
Southern plans to build two reactor at Vogtle, about 26 miles (42 kilometers) from Augusta, Georgia. The environmental groups have asked the appeals court to reject the licenses because the agency hadn’t fully considered lessons from Japan’s Fukushima Dai-Ichi disaster, caused by a March 2011 earthquake and tsunami.
The request for a court stay “is an attempt to apply some common sense to the whole process by saying that construction should not proceed on this project while the court’s reviewing our case,” Diane Curran, an attorney for the groups, said today on a conference call with reporters. Changes to the reactors may be needed if the court rules in the groups’ favor, she said.
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