Nuclear Waste Reconsidered | Chemical & Engineering News
Volume 90 Issue 38 | p. 22 | Concentrates
Issue Date: September 17, 2012

Nuclear Waste Reconsidered

Department: Government & Policy
Keywords: Nuclear Regulatory Commission, radioactive waste, nuclear reactors

Over the next two years, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission will reconsider its previous decision that radioactive nuclear waste is currently being safely and properly stored at some 70 locations throughout the U.S. In a Sept. 6 announcement, NRC noted it would prepare an environmental impact statement and revise a two-year-old “waste confidence rule” in light of a June 8 federal court decision. In that decision, the court found that NRC’s legally required waste confidence rule did not adequately consider the environmental effects of never building a permanent repository to dispose of spent nuclear fuel. The court also found other deficiencies in NRC’s analysis of waste storage safety, such as the potential impact of leaks and fires at spent-fuel pools located next to reactors. NRC said that during the two years it spends preparing the environmental impact statement, it would move ahead with license review proceedings but it would not finalize licenses for new reactors or renew licenses for operating nuclear reactors. As a result, observers say, the delay is expected to have little impact on operating nuclear reactors.

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