raise an environmental contention. Moreover, neither the Turkey Point decision nor LBP-02-04 point to any regulation imposing this procedural requirement on petitioners who seek to raise significant new information in NRC license renewal proceedings.
It seems unlikely that the Commission intended to add this onerous procedural step to the process for seeking admission of NIRS’s environmental contentions in this license renewal proceeding, because it so clearly would violate NEPA. As discussed above in Section III.A.3, the NRC has an independent and constant obligation to consider new information that is relevant to its environmental decisions. While the NRC may avoid supplementing an EIS if it can provide reasonable grounds, it may not erect additional barriers to the consideration of new information.
Moreover, the mere fact that the environmental analysis for license renewal is “tiered” does not release the NRC from the obligation to provide additional EIS’s or supplements for individual projects that present significant new information. See Blue Mountain Biodiversity Project v. Blackwood, 161 F.3d 1208 (9th Cir. 1998), cert. denied sub nom. Malheur Lumber Co. v. Blue Mountains Biodiversity Project, 527 U.S. 1003 (1999). Tiering is intended to make the NEPA process more efficient by grouping common issues into generic impact statements. See 40 C.F.R. § 1508.8. It does not diminish the NRC’s obligation to ensure that each individual licensing action is supported by a complete and up-to-date EIS that takes into account any significant information that has not been addressed in the generic EIS.7
7 The ASLB also states that NIRS must obtain a waiver of 10 C.F.R. § 50.13 in order to gain admission of its contention. Id. slip op. at 75. 10 C.F.R. § 50.13 is a safety design requirement, not a regulation. While the Commission previously has applied the policy underlying 10 C.F.R. § 50.13 in a NEPA context, the rule itself does not apply as a matter of law. For a more extensive discussion of this issue, see CCAM/CAM’s Brief In Response to CLI-02-05 at Section III.B. In addition, as discussed in CCAM/CAM’s Brief at Section III.C, the rationale underlying 10 C.F.R. § 50.13 is not applicable in these circumstances.