FAHY, Senior Circuit Judge:
Petitioners, Business and Professional People for the Public Interest (BPI), and James T. Nodland, seek review of an order of the Atomic Energy Commission denying their petition to intervene in a proceeding before the Commission. The proceeding grew out of the application of Northern States Power Company for a Facility Operating License for its Prairie Island Nuclear Generating Plant, located in Minnesota. Pursuant to the Atomic Energy Act of 1954, as amended (42 U.S.C. §§ 2011 et seq.), facility construction permits had been issued by the Commission to Northern States in June, 1968. Unit 1 of the facility has been constructed and is ready for commercial operation, and Unit 2 is expected to be ready for such operation this year.
The presently involved license proceeding commenced with the Commission's publication of October 11, 1972, giving notice that,
The Commission required that the petition conform with the provisions of its procedural rule, 10 C.F.R. § 2.714(a), which, in pertinent part, read as follows when the petition was filed in this case:
The petition, filed November 10, 1972, represents that it is on behalf of BPI, Nodland individually, the Citizens of Minneapolis-St. Paul and Northfield, Minnesota, and the public generally. It asserts that the specifically named members of BPI and Nodland reside in the zone that would be gravely contaminated by a major accident at the nuclear power plant. The right to intervene is claimed under the following terms of section 189(a) of the Atomic Energy Act of 1954, as amended, 42 U.S.C. § 2239(a):
An Atomic Safety and Licensing Board of the Commission denied the petition, stating that it failed in important respects to comply with 10 C.F.R. § 2.714(a), supra,
Leave was granted, however, to petitioners to file within 10 days,
On appeal to the Atomic Energy Safety and Licensing Appeal Board the denial was affirmed. The Board held, however, that petitioners did set forth a sufficient foundation to bring them within the category of persons "whose interest may be affected" by grant of the operating license.
Thereafter the Commission, sua sponte, issued a memorandum agreeing with the Appeals Board. It held that the requirements of 10 C.F.R. § 2.714(a) were valid, notwithstanding the provisions of section 189(a) of the Act. The Commission relied upon its broad rulemaking authority conferred by section 161(p) of the Act, (42 U.S.C. § 2201(p)), authorizing the Commission to,
Petitioners' appeal is from this final decision of the Commission. We affirm.
In this court petitioners state that the Appeals Board, whose position was upheld by the Commission, correctly recognized that the principal issue is whether,
Relying upon the terms of section 189(a) of the Act, petitioners contend that the requirements of 10 C.F.R. § 2.714(a) of more than a showing of interest which may be affected are illegal.
441 F.2d at 977. This decision, more clearly than Easton, supports Commission authority to depart from petitioners' reading of the language of section 189(a) of the Act. Easton and Cities of Statesville demonstrate that this court has not deemed section 189(a) to be the last word on the subject of intervention. Other factors are indeed relevant to Commission control of proceedings necessary to carry out the purposes of the Act.
We turn also to the legislative history of the Act for possible help. During its consideration by the Senate, Senator Hickenlooper, when proposing an amendment which eventuated in section 189(a) as it now reads, stated,
100 Cong.Rec. 10,686 (1954). During the further progress of the floor discussion, however, Senator Humphrey, apparently unaware of the Hickenlooper amendment, offered an amendment which read in part as follows:
100 Cong.Rec. 11,391 (1954). On the same day Senator Humphrey withdrew his amendment. In doing so he referred to Senator Hickenlooper's amendment as follows:
100 Cong.Rec. 11,404 (1954). Arguably Senator Humphrey was of the view that section 189(a), as enacted after the Hickenlooper amendment, did not prevent the Commission from exercising authority to adopt regulations governing the intervention of interested parties in any Commission proceeding.
Perhaps of more importance in arriving at the legislative intention is information supplied by the Commission to the congressional Joint Committee on Atomic Energy after the original text of 10 C.F.R. § 2.714, without the supporting
The report of the Second Regulatory Review Panel, appointed by the Commission in 1965 to study and recommend improved procedures for the handling of nuclear reactor licensing cases, was of the opinion that the Commission's rules should be amended
Licensing and Regulation of Nuclear Reactors, Hearings before the Joint Committee on Atomic Energy, 90th Cong. 1st Sess., pt. 1, at 471 (1967). As a result of these recommendations the Commission amended 10 C.F.R. § 2.714(a) to require that a petitioner's contentions be set forth in "reasonably specific detail." See 33 Fed.Reg. 8588 (1968).
In 1971 Commissioner James T. Ramey stated during testimony before a subcommittee of the Joint Committee, considering new atomic energy legislation, that the Commission's "rules of practice already provide that a petition to intervene must set forth the petitioner's contentions in reasonably specific detail." AEC Licensing Procedure and Related Legislation, Hearings before the Subcom. on Legis. of the Joint Comm. on Atomic Energy, 92d Cong., 1st Sess., pt. 1 at 49 (1971).
Again in 1973 while reviewing the Commission's reorganized regulatory program, Commissioner William O. Doub informed the Joint Committee that, "[t]he individual [who wishes to intervene] has to state his specific contentions, what he is concerned about, why he wants to appear in the proceeding as a party." AEC Authorizing Legislation Fiscal Year 1974, Hearings before the Joint Comm. on Atomic Energy, 93d Cong., 1st Sess., pt. 2 at 780 (1973).
We think these statements support the view that the requirement of specification of contentions contained in 10 C.F.R. § 2.714(a) of the Commission's regulations is not inconsistent with the intention of Congress gathered from section 189(a), when read with the authority of the Commission with respect to regulations granted by section 161(p) of the Act.
Section 189(a) does not in literal terms state that any person whose interest is affected may intervene; it states that such a party shall be granted a hearing upon request and the Commission shall admit any such person as a party to the proceeding. The statute does not confer the automatic right of intervention upon anyone. Under its procedural regulations it is not unreasonable for the Commission to require that the prospective intervenor first specify the basis for his request for a hearing. Senator Hickenlooper's description of the purpose of his amendment, to which we have referred, is not inconsistent with such a requirement. Petitioners themselves quite appropriately disclaim contending that "an intervenor need never assert the issues he believes
Section 2.714(a) of 10 C.F.R. also provides that a supporting affidavit accompany the petition. To require the person "whose interest may be affected" to support the factual basis for such interest with an affidavit is clearly reasonable. A problem might arise, however, with the requirement of a supporting affidavit "identifying the specific aspect or aspects" as to which intervention is sought and "the basis for [the party's] contentions with regard to each aspect. . . ."
In conclusion, it seems clear that the congressional classification of parties "whose interest may be affected" is not narrowly interpreted by the Commission. Those who, like petitioners, come within this interpretation are in the class entitled to seek a hearing and to become a party to the proceeding. The Commission's regulations, however, prescribe that they must be specific as to the focus of the desired hearing. In this manner the Commission narrows those within the larger class to those entitled to participate as intervenors, and thus to assist the Commission in the resolution of the issues to be decided. In doing so we do not think the agency transgresses its legislative charter.