Sumbitting your case to the NRC? It pays to be polite about it.
If you’re going to put your case to the NRC, that’s the right of every member of the public – but don’t be rude to them. Here’s why.
For those not in the know, Martinelli is the guy behind Green Nuclear Butterfly, amongst his other pursuits.
The anti-nuke activist with a very loud voiceIndian Point critic Martinelli censured by NRC
PEEKSKILL — At first glance, Sherwood Martinelli looks and sounds like a ’60s throwback. In a room full of government types, with their navy suits and blue ties, he’s the long-haired dude wearing the khaki jacket, lime shirt and Wicked Witch of the West lapel pin. He’s the one that talks loud at the news conference and sometimes lets a curse word slip into his anti-nuclear diatribe. He knows what you’re thinking: hippy, tree-hugger, no-nukes nut job.
But upon closer inspection, at his home office in Peekskill, in a restored hillside Victorian he shares with his wife and cats, the director of Friends United for Sustainable Energy — a grass-roots think tank fighting to close the Indian Point nuclear power plant in Buchanan — seems more like an Ivy League professor or high-powered lawyer.
Critics and fans will agree, Martinelli has amassed a commanding amount of nuclear energy research, all of which he’s boiled down into a dictionary-sized document for FUSE to submit to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s Atomic Safety and Licensing Board.
That document — nearly 500 pages and 60 contentions — is one of 15 hearing requests submitted to the NRC by assorted groups and government agencies across the Northeast. The majority are aimed at thwarting Entergy Nuclear Operations’ license renewal for its Indian Point reactors.
For those trying to shut down the nuclear power plant, this is high noon. It’s the moment when Martinelli and FUSE have the NRC’s attention and when Indian Point is most vulnerable.
But just now, at this critical point, Martinelli’s colorful personality might have crossed the line and jeopardized his entire group’s case.
In an e-mail sent last month to an NRC attorney, Martinelli called the Atomic Safety and Licensing Board a “bunch of pro-industry pricks.”
The NRC censored Martinelli, demanding an apology.
Martinelli gave them one, iced in sarcasm. “I don’t feel like the use of the word ‘prick’ was wrong,” he said. “If you look up the dictionary definition, it fits.”
Martinelli said he was simply expressing his opinion, as the First Amendment allows.
“Perhaps if I had known certain board members were so puritan,” his apology said, “I might have chosen a different noun.”
The NRC rejected Martinelli’s apology, calling it “objectively more insulting than his initial transgression.”
He’s now censured from the Indian Point proceedings and FUSE has until Dec. 24 to resubmit its entire case with a different representative.
NRC spokesman Neil Sheehan said Martinelli’s behavior not only attacked the integrity of the three-judge panel that will oversee the hearing requests but also slows down a process that is already expected to take two to three years. “It has to be an orderly process,” he said, “which is one of the reasons (the judges) are not going to tolerate shenanigans from Mr. Martinelli or anyone else.”
FUSE board member Remy Chevalier said the NRC targeted Martinelli because he’s a legitimate threat to Indian Point’s survival.
The NRC has never denied a nuclear power plant’s relicensing application.
“If we take down this one, it’s going to start a domino effect,” he said. With or without Martinelli, “we’re going to win.”