The NRC sent out an email at 6:40am CST today to those subscribed to their notification services announcing a critical meeting for those wanting to give public comment on the North Anna nuclear station. The letter is dated today (September 7, 2011), the meeting is September 8 at 1pm in Rockville Maryland. North Anna is in central Virginia. This gave only those invested enough to have signed up for email notices one days notice of the meeting. The rest of the public so far has been given none.
The NRC website was checked at 7:26am today (September 7, 2011). No word of this meeting was on the news, front page or the public meeting calendar. (see documents at end of post)
The NRC claims this is their policy on notification of public meetings:
“When is a meeting announced?
NRC announces meetings no fewer than 10 calendar days before the meeting date. If a meeting must be scheduled but cannot be announced 10 calendar days in advance, the staff will provide as much advance notice as possible.”
The meeting is listed as a Category 1 meeting that requires an agenda or other information about the meeting contents be posted ahead of time on the ADAMS document system and the ADAMS document number should be included in the public notice of the meeting. There is no agenda or ADAMS document associated with this meeting announcement.
This violates a number of the NRC’s policies on open meetings including the 10 day announcement period. The only people who received this 1 day notice are those who are signed up for NRC emails on power plant activities. The rest of the public has no notice of this meeting. This kind of end run around rules intended to allow and encourage public participation raises a number of ethical questions along with the objectivity of the NRC. The issues at the North Anna nuclear plant impact all of us as we have seen with Fukushima, nuclear accidents are not just local problems. This is even more so for the people living in the region where the safety of this plant impacts every aspect of their lives.
Update: The NRC has posted a statement on their blog about the short notice meeting.
“Having a public meeting on such short notice is very unusual, but Dominion’s information on such a unique situation needs to be discussed in a formal, open setting as soon as possible.”
If this information is that urgent couldn’t it wait a few days so people could be notified? The units are shut down and under inspection so it wouldn’t impact operating safety for the moment.
The NRC claims the meeting will be broadcast here live. Though no item is currently on the schedule of live meetings, hopefully this is just due to the short notice.
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