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Wednesday
Feb252015

NRC Commissioners to reveal votes on Nuke Waste Con Game Thursday, Feb. 25

Portrait of the current NRC Commission. Pictured from left to right: Commissioner Jeff Baran, Commissioner Kristine L. Svinicki, Chairman Stephan (sic) Burns and Commissioner William C. Ostendorff. (Please note, Chairman Burns' first named is correctly spelled Stephen. His first name is misspelled in the text, below this portrait, posted on NRC's homepage.)The four U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) Commissioners (there is currently a vacant fifth seat on the Commission) have announced that they will hold an "Affirmation Session" on Thurs., Feb. 25th at 12:55pm Eastern, revealing their votes on a Petition to Suspend Licensing and Re-Licensing of Reactors. The session will be webcast via the NRC's website.

Last September, some three dozen groups, including Beyond Nuclear, filed the petition -- and parallel contentions, in 27 old reactor license extension, and proposed new reactor construction and operating license, proceedings. The environmental coalition legal action, taken by attorneys Diane Curran and Mindy Goldstein, was in response to NRC's finalization of the Continued Spent Nuclear Fuel Storage rule and Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). (Terry Lodge of Toledo serves as legal counsel for Beyond Nuclear in several NRC licensing proceedings.)

The reason the coalition filed the Petition and contentions was that NRC, in its new Continued Storage of Spent Nuclear Fuel Rule (previously called "Nuclear Waste Confidence"), had failed to make the Atomic Energy Act-required safety findings that the agency had been making since the late 1970s. NRC suddenly dropped such legally required safety findings in the court-ordered, 2014 Rule.

The Rule and EIS were ordered by the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals in June, 2012, after a coalition of states, an Indian tribe, and the environmental groups challenged NRC's "Nuclear Waste Confidence" policy. If a majority of the NRC Commissioners vote to reject the Petition, and the contentions in these 27 licensing proceedings, the New York v. NRC coalition will very likely take this issue back to court. More.