Tell the Nuclear Regulatory Commission: Evaluate the Environmental Impacts of Attacks and Accidents at Spent Fuel Storage Pools

Comments on Rulemaking Petition Due March 19

Recent government studies by the technical staff of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) and the National Academy of Sciences show that contrary to the NRC’s long-held view, high-density spent fuel storage facilities at reactor sites around the country are vulnerable to terrorism and accidents.  A radiological release from a spent fuel pool accident could be catastrophic, contaminating thousands of square miles of land for decades.  These impacts could be avoided by implementing readily-available alternatives, such as combined low-density pool storage and hardened dry storage of spent fuel.

Yet the NRC ignores these government studies, and continues to deny that the risk of spent fuel pool accidents is significant.  The NRC has also refused to comply, outside of California, with a decision by the Ninth Circuit of the U.S. Court of Appeals that it must consider the environmental impacts of terrorist attacks on nuclear facilities.  

In a petition for rulemaking, the Massachusetts Attorney General has asked the NRC to analyze, in its licensing decisions, the environmental impacts of accidents and terrorist attacks at high-density spent fuel storage pools, and to consider a reasonable range of mitigation measures, such as low-density pool storage and hardened dry storage of spent fuel.  The NRC is currently accepting comments on this petition for rulemaking.  Use the letter below to tell the NRC that it must evaluate the impacts of terrorist attacks and severe accidents in all of its licensing decisions.

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October 21, 2018

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