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Nuclear Regulatory Commission seeks exemption from Sunshine Act
Decision-makers To Move Behind Closed Doors

On March 1, 1999 the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission announced that it will propose a final rule which allows three of five NRC commissioners to meet in private.  Current rules allow no more than two commissioners to meet to discuss business.

Citing a 1984 Supreme Court ruling which opened the way for this re-interpretation of the Sunshine Act of 1976,  the Commission gave assurances that policy decisions would not be made at such closed-door meetings.  However, skeptics argue that this rule change would undermine public confidence in the agency at a time when critical decisions are to be made.

“Policy issues now under discussion include decommissioning of nuclear power plants,  plutonium fuel reprocessing,  nuclear non-proliferation, and nuclear waste disposal.  In other words, just about everything regarding nuclear power,”  said Lou Zeller of the Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League. 

Referring to disclosures of nuclear documents by the former Energy Secretary O’Leary, Zeller continued saying,  “This runs counter to recent Administration decisions which have brought past practices into the light of day.  If this secrecy rule is adopted it will be a slap in the public’s face.”

Please See BREDL comments on NRC rule change.

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