Dave Kraft, Director of Nuclear Energy Information Service (NEIS) based in Chicago, wrote the following introduction as he forwarded the NIRS press release entitled "NRC Fails the American People: Denies Petition to Make Modest Improvements in Emergency Planning for Nuclear Reactor Accidents." Beyond Nuclear joined NEIS and three dozen other groups in supporting NIRS' petition.
"As a courtesy to our colleagues at NIRS in Washington, D.C., we forward a press release that reports the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s denial of a request to improve evacuation plans around U.S. nuclear reactors, based on the real-life information and evidence provided by the Fukushima and Chornobyl nuclear disasters. With Illinois having 14 reactors – four of which are of Fukushima design and vintage -- and 9,000+ tons of high-level radioactive waste in the form of spent fuel in spent fuel pools and dry casks, this is no inconsequential matter. (DISCLOSURE: NEIS was a co-signatory of the petition to NRC)
Reality has never been a strong suit at the NRC, which consistently denies even the most common sense requests and recommendations emanating from members of the public they allegedly serve and protect. The Commission’s interest in safety seems to be in direct proportion to the length of the leash held by Marvin S. Fertel, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Nuclear Energy Institute, the nuclear industry trade and lobbying group. While NEI representatives are frequently invited by NRC to help write public policy on nuclear power issues, attend meetings and give briefings, public interest groups are routinely refused such opportunities. This has been a consistent pattern of NRC behavior for decades.
It is for this reason that the public has come to understand that “NRC” actually stands for “not really concerned.” NRC has yet to learn the lesson that betrayal is a rational justification for distrust."
Beyond Nuclear teamed up with NEIS on many occassions, including to co-sponsor the "Mountain of Radioactive Waste 70 Years High" conference in Chicago in Dec. 2012.
Along the same lines, on April 10th, Beyond Nuclear's Reactor Oversight Project Director, Paul Gunter, has submitted public comments to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) "[rejecting] the conclusion of the NRC ISG [Interim Staff Guidance] that nuclear power plant owners can be exempted from emergency planning and preparedness once they have permanently ceased power operations but continue to maintain onsite storage of high-level nuclear waste (irradiated nuclear fuel assemblies) in wet or dry storage configurations."
As but one example that Paul points out:
"Numerous nuclear power plant irradiated fuel storage sites are also located within ten miles of General Aviation airfields where pilot and passenger screening are non-existent and cargo manifests are not supervised nor inspected. Private aircraft(s) malevolently equipped as Improvised Explosive Devices can turn any one of these high-density storage pools (many, such as the GE boiling water reactors are elevated to the upper region of the reactor building without any defensive supersturcture and all outside of any rated radiological containment structure) into a pre-deployed radiological weapon of mass destruction."
Then, on April 30th, NIRS published a press release entitled "NRC Fails to Document Claim Made in Denial of NIRS' Emergency Planning Petition that 'Majority' of Nuclear Emergency Drills Include Natural Disaster Components."