Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

USA’s Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s blind faith in the ‘future solution’ for nuclear wastes

 the NRC is now contending that the spent fuel can be stored safely “until a depository was needed” or “realized.”

the June 8 Appeals Court decision  said that “the commission’s evaluation of the risks of spent nuclear fuel is deficient in two ways:

First, in concluding that permanent storage will be available when necessary, the commission did not calculate the environmental effects of failing to secure permanent storage — a possibility that cannot be ignored.

Second, in determining that spent fuel can safely be stored on site for 60 years after the expiration of a plant’s license, the commission failed to properly examine future dangers and key consequences.”

Nuclear plant relicensing opponents challenge NRCSeaCoastonline By Shir Haberman, June 21, 2012 SEABROOK — For the second time in two months nuclear safety groups have filed a federal action against the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission for allegedly failing to appropriately fulfill its role as the protector of public health and safety.

The first suit was filed by opponents of the 20-year operating-license
extension being requested by NextEra Energy, the owners and operators
of the Seabrook Station nuclear power plant. It alleged that the NRC,
in overturning its own sub-board’s decision to allow a hearing on the
issue of whether there are less environmentally damaging alternatives
to producing power using radioactive fuels, the commission violated
the National Environmental Protection Act.

“In denying us the right to a hearing, the NRC is showing it’s in a
serious state of denial over the post-Fukushima realities of global
and local efforts to pursue cleaner and safer electric power options,”
said Doug Bogen, the executive director of the Seacoast Anti-Pollution
League based in Exeter. Fukushima is the site of the partial meltdown
of several Japanese nuclear power plant reactors following an
earthquake and tsunami that hit that country last March.

The second action is a petition filed by 24 individuals and groups
from around the country, that seeks to force the NRC to comply with an
order of the First District Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C., that
vacated the so-called “Waste Confidence Rule” set up by the
commission. That rule essentially stated that the environmental
impacts of the spent fuel currently being stored at nuclear plant
sites across the country need not be part of the discussions as they
concern plant license extensions.
The commission had based its waste rule on the contention that it had confidence that spent, but still highly radioactive, fuel could be safely stored on the grounds of nuclear power plants until it could be moved to a permanent federal repository. However, the 2005 deadline
for an NRC decision on the only proposed site for a permanent
repository, Yucca Mountain in Nevada, has passed with no action on
that or another site having been taken, and the NRC is now contending that the spent fuel can be stored safely “until a depository was needed” or “realized.”

Petitioners point out that NRC’s confidence in the safety of stored
fuel has now been effectively set aside by agency’s cancellation of
review of the Yucca Mountain license; the explosions and threats of
radiological release from the spent fuel pools at the Fukushima
nuclear plants and the June 8 Appeals Court decision.
That court decision said that “the commission’s evaluation of the risks of spent nuclear fuel is deficient in two ways: First, in
concluding that permanent storage will be available when necessary, the commission did not calculate the environmental effects of failing to secure permanent storage — a possibility that cannot be ignored.
Second, in determining that spent fuel can safely be stored on site for 60 years after the expiration of a plant’s license, the commission failed to properly examine future dangers and key consequences.”

The petition, if it is granted by the commission, would require that
the NRC suspend all final decisions in ongoing reactor licensing
proceedings pending conclusion of an evaluation the environmental
impacts of spent fuel storage and disposal; ensure that any
environmental assessments or environmental impact studies issued by
the NRC will be published in proposed form with a reasonable
opportunity for public comment; and provide a period of at least 60
days for raising site-specific concerns relating to spent fuel
storage.

“Among the many individual petitioners are neighbors of existing or
proposed reactors who would have participated in NRC licensing
proceedings had they not been barred from raising their concerns about
spent fuel storage and disposal by the commission’s rules that were
struck down by the court,” said attorney Diane Curran, who represented
some of the plaintiffs in the Court of Appeals case. “By joining
together, they seek to ensure that the environmental analyses ordered
by the U.S. Court of Appeals will be fully applied in each reactor
licensing case before operation is permitted, and that they will be
given a meaningful opportunity to participate in the decision-making
process.”….
Two of the petitioners in this latest action are opponents of the
license extension being asked for by NextEra. They are the Friends of
the Coast of Maine, and the New England Coalition on Nuclear Power,
which is based in Vermont.

The Seacoast Anti-Pollution League was prohibited from participating
in this petition because it, along with the Washington, D.C.-based
Beyond Nuclear group, were removed as interveners by the NRC, said
Bogen. That action is what gave rise to the lawsuit now pending in
federal court. http://www.seacoastonline.com/articles/20120621-NEWS-120629970

June 22, 2012 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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