As reported by the Rutland Herald, Vermont and New York have filed joint comments with the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission on the agency's Nuclear Waste Confidence Decision and Rule. The Attorneys General of VT and NY, who filed the joint comments, along with the Attorneys General of CT and NJ, were plaintiffs in the original lawsuit, which resulted in the DC Circuit Court of Appeals nullifying NRC's Nuclear Waste Confidence on June 8, 2012. The court then ordered the agency to carry out an environmental impact statement on the risks of long-term storage of high-level radioactive waste at reactor sites, such as Entergy Nuclear's Vermont Yankee and Indian Point near New York City.
The State of Vermont Department of Public Service joined in the VT and NY AG's joint comments. VT's Public Service Board is currently considering whether or not Entergy Nuclear, which has actually sued its three commissioners by name, whether the out-of-state utility deserves a Certificate of Public Good to continue doing business in the Green Mountain State.
State of Vermont Attorney General William Sorrell (pictured, left) stated that "Until the D.C. Circuit’s ruling, the NRC licensed and relicensed nuclear reactors on the assumption that the federal government would take away all of the spent fuel from each reactor site at some defined time, so the NRC never looked at the possibility that the fuel might stay there for years, decades, or even centuries.” He added that NRC has to consider whether licensing new -- and extending the licenses at old -- reactors makes sense in light of the long-term environmental impacts of onsite irradiated nuclear fuel storage, and the uncertainty surrounding the availability of a permanent dumpsite at any point in the future. In the 1980s, the U.S. Department of Energy was eyeing 7 potential sites in Vermont's granite for a national repository, as well as additional sites in neighboring New Hampshire (Hillsboro) and Maine (Sebago Lake).
Sorrell's office will present oral arguments at the Second Circuit Federal Court of Appeals in New York City on January 14th, seeking to overturn a federal district judge's ruling in favor of NRC's rubberstamping Entergy Vermont Yankee's 20-year license extension, despite the laws of the State of Vermont to the contrary.
Both VT and NY are strongly resisting 20-year license extensions at Entergy Nuclear's Vermont Yankee (already rubberstamped by NRC in March 2011, just days after the twin design Fukushima Daiichi Units 1 to 3 GE BWR Mark Is melted down and exploded in Japan) and Indian Point Units 2 and 3 near New York City.