Attorney General Asks Federal Regulators to Consider All Alternatives in Environmental Review of Spent Fuel Storage
Attorney General George Jepsen has joined with attorneys general in Vermont, Massachusetts and New York in asking federal regulators to broaden their generic environmental impact review of spent nuclear fuel storage at nuclear power plants.
The petition, filed this week with the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission, asks the regulators to look at the full range of potential alternatives, including the option of using dry casks, rather than cooling pools, to store spent fuel more than five years old; and not allowing more spent fuel to be produced until the NRC determines there is a safe and environmentally acceptable permanent waste repository to receive the additional nuclear waste.
These options were excluded by the NRC’s staff in defining the scope of the agency’s review. A federal court decision last summer ordered the NRC to do a generic environmental impact study of storing highly radioactive spent fuel indefinitely at nuclear power plants because no federal storage facility was likely to be available.
“State residents, particularly those living near active or retired nuclear power plants, need to know the potential environmental impact of long-term storage of nuclear waste,” Attorney General Jepsen said. “Public confidence in the NRC’s study will only result if all viable options, such as alternatives that can substantially mitigate potentially adverse impacts, are considered.”
The attorneys general also asked the NRC to provide guidance on what spent-fuel related issues would be decided on a site-specific basis after the environmental impact statement is issued. NRC staff failed to include any criteria in their scope of the agency’s review.
Connecticut has two active nuclear power plants: Millstone 2 and Millstone 3 in Waterford. Two other nuclear plants, Millstone 1 in Waterford and Connecticut Yankee in Haddam, were retired, although the spent fuel they generated during their years of operation continues to be stored on site.
Assistant Attorneys General Robert Snook and Kimberly Massicotte, head of the Environment department, are handling this matter for the Attorney General with Associate Attorney General Joseph Rubin.