The Marine Review Committee San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station: A Case Study of the Use of Scientific Data in the Regulatory Decision-Making Process

by Susan M. Hansch, California Coastal Commission, San Francisco, United States,
William W. Murdoch, California Coastal Commission, San Francisco, United States,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Coastal Zone '91


In 1974, the California Coastal Zone Conservation Commission established the Marine Review Committee (MRC) as a condition of the coastal permit for construction of the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (SONGS). The MRC was mandated to design and carry out a baseline study of the offshore marine environment; to measure the effects of the cooling system on marine life; to recommend power plant changes if needed for marine resource protection. This paper describes how the MRC carried out its mandate. Nuclear power plant effects detected by the MRC are also compared to predicted effects. The role of the MRC as a paradigm for future problems in environmental assessment is also examined. An analysis of the role of science, policy and negotiation in the decision-making process is additionally featured.

Subject Headings: Case studies | Coastal processes | Power plants | Decision making | Nuclear power | Permits | Offshore construction | Seas and oceans

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