by Will Davis
We are quite aware today that a major force in delaying nuclear plant licensing has been the action of “intervenors” – persons, or more often groups pretending to act as concerned individuals, who attend open meetings, file motions, and start all sorts of legal proceedings intended to delay nuclear plants long enough that the owners decide to quit. How did this all start?
The best answer we can find today in terms of clarity and brevity comes from the US Atomic Energy Commission itself. The AEC developed and published a brief history of the anti-nuclear movement’s rise in the United States as an appendix to its abortive WASH-1250, “The Safety of Nuclear Power Reactors and Related Facilities.” This document only reached a final draft form, issued in July 1973 for final review and comment. This document was considered incomplete and the much more alarming and slightly less comprehensible WASH-1400 complete with fault tree analysis was the result. (Find a copy of NUREG-0492 to explain fault tree analysis, if you need it.)
Regardless of the ultimate rejection of WASH-1250 as a final, published or adopted document the work contains much value – particularly, here, the appendix relating to the development of the anti-nuclear movement in the United States. I present it now, word for word, in this and the next installment of this series.
WASH 1250 / Appendix III / PUBLIC ATTITUDES
Any discussion of public attitudes toward nuclear power must proceed from an imprecise base since it is difficult to first define what “public” we are talking about. Is it conservation and environmental organizations? Intervenors in contested licensing hearings? Authors of books and letters-to-the-editor? Persons living near nuclear plants?
Little nationwide sampling of public opinion has been done on the subject of nuclear power. Utilities have commissioned private polls which generally show that