Judge Lets 3 Oppose ‘Hot Lab’ Request

A federal administrative judge Friday granted intervenor status to three opponents of Rockwell International’s request to renew its nuclear materials license for the “hot lab” at its Santa Susana Field Laboratory west of Chatsworth.

Peter Bloch, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission judge, ruled that Jerome Raskin and Estelle Lit of Northridge and Jon Scott of Bell Canyon in eastern Ventura County can be parties in the case and submit formal evidence in opposition to the license request.

Bloch said he will rule later on a request by other parties, including the Natural Resources Defense Council, an environmental group, to intervene in the case. A decision on the license is probably a year away.

Rockwell is seeking a 10-year extension of the license that has allowed it to dismantle nuclear fuel rods under contract with the U.S. Department of Energy’s defense programs branch. The work involves cutting open spent nuclear fuel rods, scavenging the plutonium and enriched uranium, and shipping them to government reservations. The work ran out in 1986, but Rockwell is hoping for new contracts for the future.