RPT-NRC halts plant license approvals to resolve waste issue

Wed Aug 8, 2012 5:12pm IST

Related Topics

Stocks

   

Aug 7 (Reuters) - U.S. regulators on Tuesday suspended issuing final decisions on new licenses and on license renewals for nuclear power plants until the agency decides how to deal with the thorny issue of spent nuclear fuel.

The order from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission - headed by Allison Macfarlane, a nuclear waste expert - will not stop hearings or other work on licensing activity and no license decisions are imminent, an NRC spokesman said.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in June struck down the NRC's so-called "waste confidence" provisions, saying the NRC violated the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) in issuing its 2010 update to the Waste Confidence Decision and accompanying Temporary Storage Rule. The court remanded the case for further consideration.

"Waste confidence undergirds certain agency licensing decisions, in particular new reactor licensing and reactor license renewal," the NRC commissioners said in the order.

"In recognition of our duties under the law, we will not issue licenses dependent upon the Waste Confidence Decision or the Temporary Storage Rule until the court's remand is appropriately addressed," the order said.

Licensing reviews and proceedings will continue to move forward, the NRC said.

The NRC staff is expected to provide the commission with options on the waste confidence issue within weeks, but there is no timetable for commission action, the spokesman said.

Nuclear critics hailed the action, which they said would affect eight plant license renewals, nine applications to build new reactors, one operating license and one early site permit.

Diane Curran, an attorney representing parties in the court appeal, said the need for a thorough study of the environmental impact of storing and disposing of spent nuclear fuel was long overdue.

"That study should have been done years ago, but NRC just kept kicking the can down the road," Curran said in a statement.

For a factbox on U.S. reactors seeking to renew their operating licenses, click on

FILED UNDER:

Reuters Showcase

GDP Growth

GDP Growth

India revises up 2013/14 GDP growth to 6.9 percent.  Full Article 

Pharma Deal

Pharma Deal

Sun Pharmaceutical wins U.S. approval to buy Ranbaxy  Full Article 

Adani Restructuring

Adani Restructuring

Adani hives off power, ports businesses to boost growth.  Full Article 

Bank of Baroda

Bank of Baroda

Q3 net profit down 69 pct on higher provisions  Full Article 

Trading Fees

Trading Fees

BSE slashes fees in FX derivatives battle with NSE  Full Article 

SpiceJet Turnaround

SpiceJet Turnaround

SpiceJet board approves up to $243 mln share sale plan  Full Article 

Currency Market

Currency Market

RBI urges companies to hedge FX exposure  Full Article 

Banking Sector

Banking Sector

Banks say no room to cut lending rates, thwarting RBI easing  Full Article 

Reuters Poll

Reuters Poll

RBI seen holding rates steady on Tuesday, minority of analysts expect cut  Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device  Full Coverage