Since the summer of 2012, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission has been unable to issue licenses for new reactors, nor renewals for existing licenses. A federal court threw out the underpinning of the agency’s radioactive waste policy– its “waste confidence” rule. That rule had stated that the NRC was confident that high-level radioactive waste always would be stored or disposed safely, and thus could continue to be generated.
But the court found that with the proposed Yucca Mountain nuclear waste site effectively cancelled and no alternative in place, the NRC could not be
“confident” of permanent disposal. Moreover, the court ruled that the NRC had
no technical basis for asserting that current on-site storage practices in fuel
pools and dry casks would be safe for the indefinite future. This ruling forced
the current moratorium on licensing.
The NRC has now prepared a Draft Generic Environmental Impact Statement
(DGEIS) as part of the process of replacing its “waste confidence” rule and it
hopes to finalize this document and resume licensing during 2014. During October
and November, the agency will hold 12 public meetings around the country to explain
and receive public comment on this document. The NRC is also accepting written
comments through November 27 (NIRS will set up an action page to help you comment
before the deadline).
These meetings are our opportunity to point out the many technical and logical
shortcomings in this new document, and to call for making the licensing moratorium
permanent. The only radioactive waste option we have confidence in is to stop making it!
There will be protests outside and public involvement inside each one of these meetings.
We hope you will join us and help pack every meeting!
On our new waste confidence home page, you will find draft press releases, alerts
and other information for each meeting; a link to a full schedule and locations
of each meeting; a link to download the entire DGEIS if you’d like; and more.
We will be adding talking points and other information to this page in coming
Some groups already have started organizing for these meetings; whether you’re
part of an organization or just a concerned person, it’s time to join together
and make the strongest public statement possible at every one of these
Here’s the schedule of the meetings:
Alice Slater and Sally Geller will be doing a teach in on this topic today at 2 PM in Washington Square Park.
Our colleagues in Japan, including Green Action, Friends of the Earth,
Greenpeace and more, are sponsoring a new international petition calling on the
Japanese government to take immediate action, including bringing in
international experts, to stop the radioactive water leaks to the ocean.
In addition, the petition calls for an end to efforts to restart Japanese
reactors and to export Japanese reactors.
Please join NIRS in supporting and signing this petition. You can do so here.
NIRS on the web (stay up-to-date with the Nuclear Newsreel section on the
front page, featuring the day’s most interesting news on nuclear power and
other energy issues): http://www.nirs.org
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NIRS on Twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/nirsnet