WASHINGTON, Aug. 26, 2014 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission today affirmed a final rule addressing the continued storage of used nuclear fuel between the end of reactors' licensed terms and its ultimate removal for disposal. The affirmation supports the nuclear energy industry's position that used nuclear fuel from commercial reactors can be safely managed in specially designed fuel pools in the short term and in steel and concrete storage containers for longer timeframes. Following is a statement on the commission's action from Ellen Ginsberg, vice president, secretary and general counsel for the Nuclear Energy Institute.
"The completion of this rulemaking is an important step that will facilitate final decisions on industry licensing actions pending before the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
"The industry appreciates the NRC's effort to address the areas of the 2010 rule found to be lacking by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. The industry also commends the NRC for adhering to the 24-month schedule established by the commission for publication of the final rule.
"The rule comprehensively evaluates the environmental impacts of used fuel storage during the period following license expiration until removal for disposal by the federal government, which has the legal responsibility for disposal of this material. The NRC's generic consideration of the environmental impacts of continued storage fully complies with the National Environmental Policy Act.
"Industry supports the commission's decision to continue its longstanding and court-sanctioned practice of considering long-term used fuel storage issues generically. Issuance of this rule will maximize efficiency in the licensing and relicensing processes while ensuring the agency complies with the requirement of the National Environmental Policy Act to disclose the environmental impacts of used fuel storage. The D.C. Circuit and other courts have specifically approved this approach, which avoids duplicative and inefficient site-specific reviews.
"In its rule, the commission concluded that 'spent fuel can be safely managed in … dry casks during the short-term, long-term and indefinite time frames.' This conclusion confirms the safety and security of used nuclear fuel under the multilayered protective strategies used at commercial nuclear energy facilities."
The Nuclear Energy Institute is the nuclear energy industry's policy organization. This news release and additional information about nuclear energy are available at www.nei.org.
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Source:Nuclear Energy Institute