Washington—Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), chairman of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development, issued the following statement after the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals last week rejected a Nuclear Regulatory Commission policy related to the handling of nuclear waste:
“The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals on Friday rejected a 2010 finding by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission that nuclear waste will be safe in spent fuel pools for 60 years beyond the life of the plant. The court found that the NRC inadequately studied environmental effects of potential leaks and fires. The court also rejected the NRC’s premise that a permanent waste repository would be available ‘when necessary.’
“This is the second court ruling in less than a month calling into question U.S. nuclear waste policies, further evidence that we must establish a policy to manage highly radioactive nuclear waste. Leaving waste sitting in spent fuel pools next to reactors for decades on end is simply not a responsible policy.
“I believe this decision lends further support for the Senate’s fiscal year 2013 Energy and Water bill, which authorizes a pilot program to demonstrate consolidated interim storage for nuclear waste. Interim storage would facilitate the removal of waste from spent fuel pools.
“Interim storage is a key step supported by the Blue Ribbon Commission on America’s Nuclear Future. I am committed to working with the authorizing committee to advance the commission’s other unanimous recommendations.”