Issue Date: June 18, 2012
NRC Told To Review Waste Policies
A federal court has ordered the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to better examine how the U.S. addresses radioactive waste and spent nuclear fuel. In a June 8 ruling, a U.S. Court of Appeals three-judge panel said NRC must reexamine its 2010 policy determination that today’s method of storing nuclear waste in spent fuel pools or dry casks next to nuclear power plants is adequate for the future. The court said NRC must prepare an environmental impact statement or make a formal finding of “no significant environmental impact” concerning how radioactive waste is stored. NRC has not considered the full environmental effects of the lack of a permanent site to store radioactive waste, according to the court. An NRC determination that waste could be safely stored on-site for 60 years after a power plant is shut down is also inadequate, the court said. The ruling may require NRC to consider the consequences of continued generation of highly radioactive waste when making licensing decisions for nuclear power plants. NRC is examining the implications of the judicial decision.
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