Advocates raise questions about proposal to allow some nuclear waste to be disposed in landfills. Scientists and advocates are raising concerns about a proposed relaxation on regulations for disposing of nuclear waste, saying that the government should halt the proposal as the scientific community focuses on the coronavirus. A March 6 Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) proposal would allow for the disposal of some nuclear waste in municipal landfills, rather than a licensed facility. Advocates say the proposal could put public health at risk, pushing the NRC to give the public more time to weigh in. “What they’re trying to do is prop up a failing industry so that the cost of decommissioning these [nuclear] reactors is reduced so you don’t have to send it to a place that is expensive because it’s designed to safely handle it,” said Dan Hirsch, the former director of the University of California, Santa Cruz’s Program on Environmental and Nuclear Policy.
The Hill 3rd April 2020 read more »
The US government’s efforts to clean up Cold War-era waste from nuclear research and bomb making at federal sites around the country has lumbered along for decades, often at a pace that watchdogs and other critics say threatens public health and the environment. Now, fallout from the global coronavirus pandemic is resulting in more challenges as the nation’s only underground repository for nuclear waste finished ramping down operations Wednesday to keep workers safe.
New York Post 3rd April 2020 read more »
If the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s conclusion that it’s safe to move spent nuclear fuel from nuclear power plants across the country to a proposed storage facility in Lea County sounds vanilla-coated, it’s because the draft environmental impact statement for a Consolidated Interim Storage Facility submitted by Holtec International did not address how the casks containing the spent fuel would be transported to New Mexico. It’s likely the casks would be transported primarily by rail using aging infrastructure in need of constant repair. But our rail systems were not built to support the great weight of these transport casks containing thin-wall fuel storage canisters. Nor was the potential for cracked or corroded canisters to leak radiation studied because an earlier NRC Generic EIS for the Continued Storage of Spent Nuclear Fuel assumed damaged fuel storage canisters would be detected during an intermediary dry transfer system or a pool. But Holtec’s proposal only addresses a new destination for the high-level nuclear waste – not the removal and transport of the fuel storage canisters from nuclear power plants to New Mexico. Even transport casks with canisters that are not damaged will release radiation as they are transported from nuclear power plants to the storage facility, exposing populations along the transport routes in a majority of states and tribal communities in New Mexico to repeated doses of radiation.
Albuquerque Journal 3rd April 2020 read more »