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

2015: India Outlook

2015: India Outlook

India in 2014: A dream run for markets  Full Article 

Funding Woes

Funding Woes

Co-founder of SpiceJet seeks time to finalise rescue  Full Article 

Regulating Airfares

Regulating Airfares

India considers temporary cap on airfares - government official  Full Article 

Flying Back on Course

Flying Back on Course

The inside story of the new Airbus A350 jet  Full Article 

Oil Price Forecast

Oil Price Forecast

Oil prices likely to rebound in second half of 2015: poll  Full Article 

Cyber Attacks

Cyber Attacks

China condemns cyberattacks, but says no proof N.Korea hacked Sony  Full Article 

Connecting Markets

Connecting Markets

China stock connect scheme scorecard throws up surprises  Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

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