Big Win – NRC freezes US nuclear licenses
Today (August 7th) the US Nuclear Regulator Commission froze all outstanding nuclear licensing applications. This includes the construction and operating license for the proposed 3rd North Anna reactor – a reactor i have been trying to stop for 10 years.. This freeze will continue until there is resolution of how high level radwaste will be stored in this country. For decades the NRC had been giving out nuclear licenses and license extensions to basically any utility that applied. This ruling changes all that. It could mean years of delay in projects which have already been plagued with delays. Read this article by Beyond Nuclear, on the history of the trial.
I feel like i can take some credit for this win, in that several of the organizations which brought the case i have worked with and for (Specifically, NIRS, BREDL/PACE and Beyond Nuclear) and raise money for.
If you know the Nuclear Regulatory Commission that issued this ruling, you know they were forced. My groups filed a petition and on June 8th the US District Court of Appeal ruled that the NRC had failed to provide a long term solution for nuclear waste and that the court was not compelled by the “waste confidence rule” that the NRC was operating under. This rule permitted the NRC to assume that at some unspecified future there would be a permanent rad waste dump and thus they could confidently assume everything that produces nuclear waste should be permitted to start operation. The Obama administration made good on this campaign promise and halted the Yucca Mountain project and the Court lost the NRCs confidence.
The NRC rushed to appease fears of it’s nuclear clients saying
NRC spokesman David McIntyre stressed that the agency will continue reviewing existing applications. Licensing applications can still continue under the NRC order up until a final decision would be made, he said.
So the NRC is trying to deny their own suspension of licensing processes, but saying the processes would go on as normal just without final approval. Just what we would suspect from a regulator who has never said “no”.
And what this does for every fragile nuclear project in the country (of which there are several) it increases the chances the owners will see nuclear is a dead end and change course. Otherwise we have to keep wailing on them.