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Thursday
Jan032013

24 Groups: NRC Rushing Nuclear “Waste Confidence” Process, Not Satisfying Court-Ordered Requirements

Critics have long dubbed NRC's "Nuclear Waste Confidence Decision and Rule" a Nuke Waste Con Game. In June, the federal courts agreed.An environmental coalition, including Beyond Nuclear, has asserted that NRC's incomplete "Nuclear Waste Confidence" process should trigger continued suspension of all reactor licensing and re-licensing. Beyond Nuclear has applied the related court victory to challenge the proposed new Construction and Operating License Applications at Fermi 3 in Michigan and at Grand Gulf in Mississippi, as well as applications for 20-year license extensions at Grand Gulf Unit 1 and Davis-Besse in Ohio.

The coalition's press release began:

"In documents filed Wednesday with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), a wide range of national and grassroots environmental groups said it would be impossible for the NRC to adequately conduct a court-ordered assessment of the environmental implications of long-term storage of spent nuclear reactor fuel in the two short years the federal agency envisions for the process.  

The groups’ comments and related declarations by experts are available online at http://www.psr.org/resources/nrc-rushing-nuclear-waste-confidence-process.html.  

In June 2012, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit vacated the NRC’s 2010 Waste Confidence Decision and Temporary Storage Rule and remanded them to the agency for study of the environmental impacts of storing spent fuel indefinitely if no permanent nuclear waste repository is licensed or if licensing of a repository is substantially delayed.  Spent nuclear fuel remains highly dangerous for prolonged periods.  It has long-lived radioactive materials in it that can seriously contaminate the environment and harm public health if released.  Additionally, spent nuclear fuel contains plutonium-239, a radiotoxic element that can be used to make nuclear weapons if separated from the other materials in the fuel.  Plutonium-239 has a half-life of over 24,000 years."

The complete press release can be read here.