High Court Rejects Appeal to Shut San Onofre N-Plant

Associated Press

Environmentalists trying to block the San Onofre nuclear power plant, which they say may not be strong enough to withstand a nearby earthquake, have lost a Supreme Court appeal.

The court, without comment, refused Monday to revoke an operating license for two units of the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station.

Last September, the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals here upheld a decision by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission granting a license to the plant.

The appeals court said the Friends of the Earth, an environmental group headed by August S. Carstens of San Diego, was given “a full and fair” hearing by the commission.


The environmentalists said the appeals court “deferred almost blindly to the NRC because the case involved uncertainty in science and technology.” They said the ruling “opens wide the door for the federal bureaucrats to institute an unchecked reign of technocracy” whenever there are scientific questions.

Friends of the Earth said the commission unfairly threw out evidence that the Christianitos fault, about one mile from the plant, was “active” and capable of producing a major earthquake.

“Eight earthquakes may have occured on this fault since 1973,” the environmental group said.

Justice Department lawyers, in urging the high court to reject the group’s appeal, said the commission determined that the fault has been inactive for over 125,000 years.