Environmental groups call for 300 years of nuclear review


A collaboration of national and grassroots environmental groups have filed documents with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) claiming that it would be impossible for the NRC to conduct a court-ordered assessment of the environmental implications of long-term storage of spent nuclear reactor fuel in the two years the NRC has targeted for the project.

States including Vermont, Massachusetts and New York have also filed comments with the Attorney General saying that the NRC isn't doing enough to address the storage of high-level radioactive waste.

The short timeframe provided for environmental review will also not permit post-Fukushima information about U.S. reactors to be fully collected and evaluated, the groups argue.

Despite the Court's order to consider impacts associated with the failure to ever establish a permanent repository for spent nuclear fuel, the NRC proposed only to consider the impacts associated with failing to secure a repository by the end of this century, according to the groups.

Arjun Makhijani, President of the Institute for Energy and Environmental Research and Gordon Thompson, Executive Director for the Institute for Resource and Security Studies contend that the NRC should "consider the environmental impacts of failing to establish a repository until 2250, requiring approximately 300 years of onsite storage." Plutonium-239 contained in spent nuclear fuel has a half-life of more than 24,000 years.

In response to the state filings, NRC spokesperson NRC spokesman Neil Sheehan said in an email to the Vermont News that, "The NRC staff is working on an Environmental Impact Statement to address deficiencies identified by the District of Columbia Circuit Court of Appeals."

For more:
- see the Environmental Impact Statement

Related Articles:
Sandia seeks to improve national security, nuclear safety 
Global public sentiment still "vehemently anti-nuclear" 
DOE shaping next-gen nuclear leaders
DOE research seeks Fukushima takeaways
Huge nuclear increase in China won't surpass U.S.