Court: Nuclear Regulators Must Assess Spent Fuel Storage Dangers

"WASHINGTON, DC -- A federal appeals court ruled Friday that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission must formally re-evaluate the environmental risks of storing spent nuclear fuel onsite at the nation's more than 100 nuclear reactors."

"'Determining how to dispose of the growing volume of spent nuclear fuel, which may reach 150,000 metric tons by the year 2050, is a serious problem,' wrote Chief Judge David Sentelle in the opinion of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.

The court held that the commission's evaluation of the risks of spent nuclear fuel is 'deficient,' invalidated the regulation and remanded the matter back to the agency, instructing it to fully comply with federal law.

The case arose when four states, an Indian community, and four environmental groups petitioned the appeals court for review of a December 2010 Nuclear Regulatory Commission rulemaking that the long-term storage of radioactive waste at the nation's nuclear power plants for 60 years beyond the licensed life of a plant is safe and has no adverse environmental impacts."

Environment News Service had the story June 11, 2012.

Source: ENS, 06/12/2012