Decommissioning Nuclear Power Plants: What Congress, Federal Agencies and Communities Need to Know
July 5, 2018

See the EESI (Environmental and Energy Study Institute) Briefing Notice for the following event:

Monday, July 16 2018    |   2 PM – 3:30 PM

Room HC-8, U.S. Capitol Building

Please RSVP to expedite check-in:

Live webcast will be streamed at:

The Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI) invites you to a briefing on the urgent need to safely decommission nuclear power plants, which are increasingly shutting down. The United States is facing a significant wave of nuclear plant closures for which it is unprepared. Most of the existing U.S. reactor fleet will inevitably close over the next two decades, as plants near the ends of their operational lifespans. Decommissioning is the process of dismantling the closed plant and securing or removing radioactive waste while lowering the site’s residual radioactivity to safer levels. Getting decommissioning right is critical to communities’ health and safety, while getting it wrong could pose an existential threat.


Leading scientists, policy experts, NGO advocates, and local elected officials with experience of decommissioning will speak at the briefing. It will cover the impacts of decommissioning, current decommissioning options, waste storage vs. transport, thorny unsolved problems and best practices, financing and liability, a just transition for communities and workers, how communities and states can and can’t weigh in on these issues, and how they should inform the fast-changing legislative and regulatory landscape. Briefers include:


More than 80 reactor communities, as well as countless communities along proposed radioactive waste transport routes in 75 percent of Congressional districts, will be profoundly affected by how decommissioning is handled. The potential for radiological contamination, accidents, and long-term environmental, public health and economic damage increases as plants are dismantled and radioactive materials are handled, moved and stored. Reactor communities risk becoming de facto stewards of stranded high-level nuclear waste, which poses local and regional threats. Yet,  in most cases, shipping the waste can pose even greater threats. Communities will have to deal with the economic impacts of the legacy of reactor sites that can never be fully decontaminated.


The existing regulatory and legislative framework around decommissioning nuclear plants is insufficient to handle these issues, and in any case it is changing rapidly as Congress considers pending legislation (HR 3053 is just one example) and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission drafts new rules that will govern decommissioning and spent fuel disposition. The experts addressing this briefing have learned surprising lessons about decommissioning that Washington needs to hear as it makes key decisions the consequences of which we will live with for a long time to come.


This briefing is co-sponsored by Beyond Nuclear, Ecological Options Network, Hudson River Sloop Clearwater, Indian Point Safe Energy Coalition (IPSEC), Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), Nuclear Energy Information Service (NEIS), Nuclear Resource and Information Service (NIRS), Riverkeeper, Safe Energy Rights Group, Unity for Clean Energy (U4CE), and others.

Update on July 5, 2018 by Registered Commenteradmin

The briefing will be followed the next day, Tuesday, July 17, by a Nuclear Waste Decommissioning Lobby Day on Capitol Hill.

Here is what Manna Jo Green of Hudson River Sloop Clearwater, another sponsoring group, has to say about that:

We plan to precede and follow up the briefing with meetings with individual Congressional representatives and key staff.  We will provide talking points, background information and help schedule meetings on Monday morning and late afternoon on July 16 and all day Tues., July 17.  We can meet for breakfast early on July 16 for those who come early, and for dinner later on July 16 at location TBD to provide an orientation and pass out schedules and related materials.  Please let us know if you can attend the lobby day meetings: 845-265-8080 x 7113 or  802-275-8190.  The room where the briefing will be held only holds 60 people and there will be live broadcast and it will be videotaped and posted.  These details are still being worked out, but if you can only come for July 17 meetings with Congressional staff, that is fine.  (Everyone must pay their own way and make their own travel and lodging arrangements.)

If you cannot attend but want to help by donating to help offset the cost of arranging this event, please go to Beyond Nuclear's website:  donate and designate your donation for Congressional Hill Briefing.

Article originally appeared on Beyond Nuclear (
See website for complete article licensing information.