The requirement for supplementation is included in NRC’s environmental regulations governing license renewal. 10 C.F.R. § 51.53(c)(3)(iv) requires that the applicant’s Environmental Report “must contain any new and significant information regarding the impacts of license renewal of which the applicant is aware.” 10 C.F.R. § 51.95(c)(3) provides that consideration of “any significant new information relevant to the proposed action” is a prerequisite to issuance of a Supplemental EIS regarding license renewal.3
It also follows from Marsh that NRC or judicial decisions regarding the significance of environmental impacts in a given case do not have the same precedential value as, for instance, decisions interpreting the safety requirements of the Atomic Energy Act. Rather, in each new case it is appropriate to examine whether the factual considerations undergirding previous NEPA decisions still apply under the NEPA “rule of reason.” NEPA precludes the blind application of previous decisions, however, and requires the Commission to determine whether the factual considerations on which they rely continue to be applicable in the face of significant new information.
B.The ASLB Erred in Denying Portions of NIRS’s Contention on the
Ground that it Raises “Generic” Issues That Have Been Previously
In LBP-02-04, the ASLB denied admission to a large portion of NIRS’s contention on the ground that it raises “generic” issues that are applicable to any nuclear power plant, and is therefore “outside the scope of this license renewal proceeding.” Id., slip op. at 74.
3 See also 10 C.F.R. 51.92(a), which requires supplementation where the proposed action has not been completed, if: “(1) there are substantial changes in the proposed action that are relevant to environmental concerns; or (2) There are significant new circumstances or information relevant to environmental concerns and bearing on the proposed action or its impacts.” Although 51.92 technically does not apply here, where the action proposed in the original EIS’s for the Catawba and McGuire nuclear power plants has already been taken, the criteria provide applicable guidance for these circumstances.