What's at Stake
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission approved a proposal for a nuclear irradiator in Honolulu National Airport. Earthjustice successfully challenged the approval, and in 2012 the facility was moved to a safe location.
In 2005, Pa`ina Hawai`i proposed building a facility for irradiating fruits and vegetables to kill various pests at the Honolulu airport. Earthjustice and its clients opposed the plant because it was in a tsunami evacuation zone, vulnerable to earthquakes and hurricane storm surge, at risk of airplane crash, and would provide a ready source of radioactive material for a "dirty bomb" terrorist attack on the international airport and symbolic targets like Pearl Harbor. Finally, it was only a few feet above sea level, which put the plant at risk of wave run-up similar to that experienced in the devastating tsunami in southeast Asia in December 2004.
Opposition took the form of a petition to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, which would have to approve the project. After several years of Earthjustice litigation, the developer agreed to move the plant to a site in central O`ahu, far from Honolulu and earthquake faults. Construction began in mid-2012, and the plant is now in operation.