An Atomic Safety and Licensing Board panel for the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has awarded the group Georgians Against Nuclear Energy (GANE) the right to a public hearing on a proposed MOX plant at the Savannah River Site (SRS).

In February last year, Duke Cogema Stone & Webster submitted a construction authorisation request to the NRC for the facility, which would manufacture reactor fuel from weapons-grade plutonium. If built, this would be the first MOX facility in the USA.

The NRC board found that eight of GANE’s 13 contentions meet their pleading standards. In a hearing currently scheduled to begin in October this year, GANE will be allowed to litigate a range of criticisms of the application. The main issue, according to GANE, is that the design of the facility is inadequate to protect against acts of terrorism and insider sabotage, or to keep the plutonium secure from theft.

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