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Three hearings left: comment on NRC nuke waste con game by 12/20!

Environmental coalition members from the Crabshell Alliance, Sierra Club Nuclear-Free Campaign, NIRS, PSR, NEIS, and Public Citizen "just say NO!" at the NRC HQ nuke waste con game public comment meeting on 11/14 in Rockville, MD. Photo credit David Martin and Erica Grey.The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) Nuclear Waste Confidence Directorate has concluded most of its scheduled public comment meetings on the draft Generic Environmental Impact Statement (GEIS) regarding the agency's "Nuclear Waste Confidence." However, there are still a few opportunities left to make in-person or via-telephone oral comments! You can also make written comments at any time up till December 20th.

The GEIS was court-ordered, by the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, in June 2012. A coalition of environmental groups (Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League, Riverkeeper, Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, as well as Natural Resources Defense Council) and states (CT, NJ, NY, VT, as represented by their attorneys general) won the court victory.

Oral comments can be submitted, in-person only, at two upcoming public meetings: 12/2 in Perrysburg, OH (near Toledo), and 12/4 in Minnetonka, MN (near the Twin Cities). On 12/9, you can submit oral comments to NRC via a phone-in public comment session. Please see the bottom of this post for more details on how to plug in.

Note that the 12/2 meeting in Toledo marks the 71st year since Enrico Fermi first split the atom in a prototype reactor core, generating the world's first high-level radioactive waste (HLRW) on Dec. 2, 1942, as part of the Manhattan Project. Thus, the mountain of radioactive waste is now 71 years high, and we still don't even know what to do with the first cupful!

It's time to stop making it!

Re: the 12/2 Toledo-area meeting, Michael Keegan of Don't Waste MI and the Coalition for a Nuclear-Free Great Lakes has put out a press advisory. Its headline is RALLY AGAINST NUCLEAR WASTE CONFIDENCE GAME: ‘THE EMPEROR HAS NO CLOTHES.’

The co-chairs of the Alliance to Halt Fermi 3, Keith Gunter and Carol Izant, have also issued a press advisory announcing that representatives from their growing coalition of groups will speak at the 12/2 Perrysburg, OH meeting.

In the meantime, please continue to submit your public comments to NRC via email, webform, fax, and/or snail mail.

You can submit as many public comments as you want, between now and the final public comment deadline (Dec. 20th).

Sample comments, which you can use to help you write your own, have been provided by Beyond Nuclear and NIRS, as well as NEIS.

San Luis Obispo Mothers for Peace also provided sample comments in advance of its NRC nuke waste con game public comment meeting, held on 11/20.

See a write-up of the Chicago NRC nuke waste con game, for more ideas on potential comments you can make.

Marilyn Elie of Indian Point Safe Energy Coalition (IPSEC) provided Beyond Nuclear with the written statements by IPSEC members, NY AG Schneiderman, and others, from the Oct. 30th NRC public comment mtg. in Tarrytown, NY near Entergy's Indian Point nuclear power plant. Beyond Nuclear has posted these, so you can use them to help prepare your own.

Douglas P. Guarino, the award-winning reporter, wrote an article entitled "Legal Battle Against Rule Crucial To All U.S. Reactor Licenses Rages On" for Global Security Newswire. He quote Janice Dean, Assistant Attorney General of the State of New York, who testified at the Tarrytown, NY meeting.

Please note that NRC's Nuclear Waste Confidence Directorate has posted the archived webcast, as well as the audio recording, from the very first public comment meeting on Oct. 1 at NRC HQ in Rockville, MD; it has also posted the transcripts from the first five public comment meetings held around the country (see the bottom of the page). You can use the presentations made by hundreds of environmentalists and public interest advocates in these sessions to help you prepare your own comments.

At the Nov. 14th Rockville, MD NRC HQ public comment meeting, Beyond Nuclear's Kevin Kamps joined with numerous colleagues (see photo, above left) to testify.

In the short three minutes allotted for public comment, Kevin set the record straight on false statements the NRC has made in regards to its nuke waste con game policy.

At the Chicago public meeting on Nov. 12th, NRC Nuclear Waste Confidence Directorate Director, Keith McConnell, responded to a question from the audience about the scope of this draft GEIS. McConnell said that it had to do with "on-site" or "at-reactor" storage of irradiated nuclear fuel. Kevin set the record straight, pointing out that there is an entire section of the GEIS document, Chapter 5, about "Environmental Impacts of Away-From-Reactor Storage." This implies high-level radioactive waste (HLRW) transportation as well, a very significant issue that has gotten very short shrift in this draft GEIS.

And of course, the heart of NRC's "Nuclear Waste Confidence" for 30 years now has been the assumption that a deep geologic repository will open someday, somewhere, somehow. The courts, however, have ordered NRC to consider the all-too-real possibility that a repository will never open, leaving HLRW risks at-reactor or away-from-reactor (as at so-called "consolidated" or "centralized interim storage" sites -- parking lot dumps -- the opening of which, by 2021, is a top priority of the Wyden-Feinstein-Murkowski-Alexander "Mobile Chernobyl" bill, S. 1240, in the U.S. Senate, now set for a Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee vote in December 2013).

At a press conference on Oct. 2nd, D.C. attorney Diane Curran, and experts Dr. Gordon Thompson (President of Institute for Resource and Security Studies) and Bob Alvarez (Senior Scholar, Institute for Policy Studies), also provided insights into the potentially catastrophic risks of high-level radioactive waste storage pool fires, which NRC is currently ignoring, despite an explicit court order for NRC to address them in the EIS.

Curran, along with Mindy Goldstein of Turner Environmental Law Clinic at Emory University, are working with a team of experts, including Dave Lochbaum of Union of Concerned Scientists, and Arjun Makhijani of Institute for Energy and Environmental Research, to prepare comments, on behalf of an environmental coalition comprised of two dozen groups, including Beyond Nuclear, to be submitted by the 12/20 deadline.

If you plan to attend and make oral testimony at any of the three remaining NRC public comment meetings, NRC requests that you pre-register.

Here are the remaining three public comment meetings yet to come:

December 2

Perrysburg, Ohio
Hilton Garden Inn Toledo/Perrysburg
6165 Levis Commons Blvd.,
Perrysburg, OH 43551

Open House
6:00-7:00 p.m. EST
7:00-10:00 p.m. EST
December 4

Minnetonka, Minnesota
Minneapolis Marriott Southwest
5801 Opus Parkway
Minnetonka, MN 55343

Open House
6:00-7:00 p.m. CST
7:00-10:00 p.m. CST
December 9

Public Teleconference to Receive Comments on Waste Confidence DGEIS and Proposed Rule
(Teleconference only – facilitated and transcribed.)

Prior to the start of the meeting, please dial
and provide the operator with passcode 5132332

1:00 – 4:00 p.m. EST