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NRC To Review Honolulu Irradiator

On January 24, 2006, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission's Atomic Safety and Licensing Board granted Earthjustice's petition for a hearing on a proposal to locate a nuclear irradiator at Honolulu International Airport. The board will hold a hearing to determine whether the NRC staff violated the National Environmental Policy Act when it refused to prepare an environmental impact statement or environmental assessment for the project.

The petition, filed on behalf of the community group Concerned Citizens of Honolulu, was in response to an application by Pa'ina Hawaii, LLC, to build and operate an irradiator next to the Reef Runway to treat fruit and vegetables for fruit flies. The proposed site of the irradiator is less than 8 feet above sea level, in a designated tsunami evacuation zone, and in the middle of urban Honolulu at one of the busiest airports in the Pacific. The irradiator would also be close to Hickam Air Force Base and Pearl Harbor, and house up to a million curies of cobalt-60 -- a material that could be used by terrorists in the construction of "dirty bombs."

The hearing will allow the public to have an opportunity to participate in the review process, to ensure that the NRC does not overlook issues of concern to the community.