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Connecticut Light and Power Co. v. NRC

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Administrative Law Keyed to Lawson

Citation. Connecticut Light & Power Co. v. Nuclear Regulatory Com., 673 F.2d 525, 1982 U.S. App. LEXIS 20990, 218 U.S. App. D.C. 134 (D.C. Cir. Mar. 16, 1982)

Brief Fact Summary. Connecticut Light and Power Company (Connecticut Light) challenged a decision by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) to adopt a more stringent fire protection program for nuclear power plants in service before January 1, 1979, claiming NRC’s rulemaking procedure was inadequate.

Synopsis of Rule of Law. The Administrative Procedure Act (APA) requires agencies to give notice and an opportunity to comment to proposed rules.

Facts. Following a damaging fire in 1976, the Commission developed technical guidelines for evaluating fire safety of both new and operating nuclear plants. Due to ongoing disputes involving the evaluation process, the NRC decided to embark on rulemaking for a more stringent program in 1979. Connecticut light challenged the NRC’s new rule, claiming: 1) the notice of proposed rulemaking was inadequate because it gave no indication of the technical basis on which the Commission relied in formulating the proposed rules, and also because the final adopted rules differed in major respects from the proposed rules; 2) the Commission failed to offer technical justification for the final fire protection rules it adopted; and 3) the Commission failed to comply with its own regulations concerning new regulations for existing nuclear plants.

Issue. Was the procedure employed by NRC in adopting its new rule inadequate?

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