Coalition files Petition to NRC to strengthen reactor license extension rules due to significant new revelations on radioactive waste risks
A Petition for Rulemaking was filed on Feb. 18th by Washington, D.C.-based attorney, Diane Curran (photo, left), as well as Mindy Goldstein of the Emory U. Turner Environmental Law Clinic, to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC). The Petition seeks to re-open the License Renewal GEIS (Generic Environmental Impact Statement), in order to consider new and significant information about irradiated nuclear fuel storage impacts that was generated by the NRC Staff during the Expedited Spent Fuel Transfer proceeding, carried out under NRC's Fukushima "Lessons Learned" activities. Curran and Goldstein filed the Petition on behalf of three dozen environmental groups, including Beyond Nuclear.
One of these risks newly recognized by NRC Staff is the contribution of high-level radioactive waste storage pool risks to reactor catastrophes, and vice versa.
NRC staff has also admitted that release into the environment of even a small fraction of the contents of a high-level radioactive waste storage pool could cause the long-term dislocation of more than 4 million people, and could render more than 9,000 square miles of land uninhabitable for long time periods. What would the socio-economic costs of such a catastrophe be? Don't people have the inalienable right to safety, health, and environmental protection?
Also, what are the risks to the environment and non-human biota? Answering such questions is part and parcel of the requirements under the National Environmental Policy Act, as the Petition points out.
The filing urges that no reactor license extensions be approved by NRC until the Petition for Rulemaking has been integrated into NRC's safety regulations.