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Appeals court rules nuclear plant expansion must be weighed for terror risk

[JURIST] A three-judge panel of the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit [official website] ruled [opinion text, PDF] Friday that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission [official website] must examine the risk of a terrorist attack when it considers the environmental effect of a proposed expansion project at California's Diablo Canyon Power Plant [backgrounder]. The Commission had found that the possibility of a terror attack on the plant was "remote and highly speculative" and chose not to include the threat in its environmental assessment but the court found this viewpoint to be at odds with the Commission's plan for a "top to bottom" security review for the plant.

The expansion involves the building of a spent-fuel site that would allow Diablo Canyon to add storage capacity on its premises. Plaintiffs San Luis Obispo Mothers for Peace [advocacy website] and the Sierra Club [advocacy website] having been pushing for more stringent environmental review at the plant. Reuters has more.

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