The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has acknowledged that the court-ordered revision to its Nuclear Waste Confidence Decision, and preparation of an Environmental Impact Statement about the risks on at-reactor storage of irradiated nuclear fuel, will delay the issuance of new reactor construction and operating licenses, as well as old reactor 20 year license extensions, by two years. This has led to a backlash by the nuclear establishment in industry and government.
U.S. Senator Jeff Bingaman, Chairman of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, held a hearing on September 12th to advance his bill, S. 3469, the Nuclear Waste Administration Act of 2012. Although Bingaman himself has acknowledged his bill will not be enacted this year, before he retires from the Senate, he has expressed hope that it will lay the groundwork for passage next year.
As reported previously by Beyond Nuclear, Bingaman's bill would largely promote the recommendations of President Obama and Energy Secretary Chu's Blue Ribbon Commission (BRC) on America's Nuclear Future. The BRC's top priority involves launching high-level radioactive waste shipments -- by truck, train, and barge -- sooner rather than later. The first shipments would begin at permanently shutdown atomic reactors, to free up the radioactively contaminated land for "unrestricted re-use," despite the lingering hazards. Once the shipments leave the nuclear utilities' property, the title and liability for the forever deadly irradiated nuclear fuel transfers instantly, and forevermore, to American taxpayers.
The targeted destinations are called "consolidated" or "centralized interim storage sites," but should be called parking lot dumps. Given the great difficulty of locating even a single deep geologic repository at a site capable of containing the high-level radioactive wastes for a million years, chances are that "interim storage sites" will become de facto permanent surface storage for high-level radioactive waste. Locations at the top of that target list include the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in Bingaman's home state of New Mexico; the Savannah River Site in South Carolina; the tiny Skull Valley Goshutes Indian Reservation in Utah; the Dresden nuclear power plant in Illinois; and others.
Beyond Nuclear will join with Nuclear Energy Information Service in Chicago to commemorate the 70th year since Enrico Fermi first split the atom during the Manhattan Project at the University of Chicago in 1942, thus creating the first high-level radioactive waste on Earth. The event, "A Mountain of Radioactive Waste 70 Years High: Ending the Nuclear Age," will take place from December 1st to 3rd. A key goal of the gathering will be to begin pushing back against such a radioactive waste shell game on our roads, rails, and waterways, which Senator Bingaman is attempting to launch for no good reason.
For More Information: http://www.beyondnuclear.org