A year-long study by the General Services Administration has concluded that consolidating the stantered offices of the Nuclear Regulation Commission in downtown Washington has some "minor" environmental advantages over a new NRC headquarters in Montgomery County.
But the study, known as an environmental impact statement, notes that a downtown site would create "personal inconveniences and economic disruptions" for many present NRC employes, most of whom live in Montgomery County.
The proposed consolidation would require the transfer of 2,300 employes who work in eight office buildings in Montgomery County and one in the District.
The two-year-old dispute over where the NRC and its employes will be moved is expected to be resolved, like most major federal relocations, in Congress.
"The ball is now in the Senate's court," said a spokesman for Rep. Michael Barnes (D-Md.), Whose district includes most NRC employes and the three proposed county sites where a giant office complex could be leased for them-in Silver Spring, Bethesda or at Rockville Pike and Nicholson Lane.
Maryland congressmen have lobbied strenuously to keep the NRC in Montgomery County, although in 1978 the House Public Works Committee approved GSA's initial decision to consolidate the agency in one of two downtown Washington locations.
However, the committee chairman, Rep Harold T. Johnson (D-Calif.), has subsequently said that because so many NRC employes live in Montgomery County "it appears that this area is the least objectionable for the consolidation . . ." This has been hailed as an indication that the House committee might reverse itself and vote to keep the NRC in Maryland.
"We're pretty happy with EIS (environmental impact statement)," said a Barnes spokesman, "because we thought it was a foregone conclusion NRC was going to the District. Now the EIS concludes there are no significant advantages or disadvantages among the five sites being considered and it also mentions the problems of employes."