NRDC Opposing License Renewal For Limerick Reactors
The Exelon Corporation had initially requested a 20-year extension for both units of the Limerick facility, but they now find themselves amongst a growing list of nuclear facilities facing legal action.
Following last month's appellate court ruling, which called into question the Nuclear Regulatory Commission's claim that spent fuel-rods could be stored safely up to 60 years after a plant shuts down, the National Resources Defense Council has filed a motion with the Atomic Safety and Licensing Board which seeks to put a halt to the license renewal process for both reactors at the Limerick Generating Station.
The Exelon Corporation had initially requested a 20-year extension for both units of the Limerick facility during June of 2011, but they now find themselves amongst a growing list of nuclear facilities facing legal action in the wake of the court's decision.
"There are other similar challenges being brought against other plants, for instance the Indian Point Nuclear Power Plant in West Chester, New York," said Neil Sheehan, a public affairs officer with the NRC. "Whether these multiple challenges will be combined remains to be seen, but that's a distinct possibility."
The issue at hand is the safe storage of spent fuel rods, which Sheehan said the NRC initially rated at 30 years beyond the shutdown of a nuclear facility.
"(We issued the waste confidence decision) when it still appeared that prospects were good for a federal repository," said Sheehan. "The work was proceeding on Yucca Mountain in Nevada, but Yucca has been put on hold, and it may be dead."
With no long-term solution for the housing of nuclear waste, the NRC issued an updated waste confidence decision stating that the commission believed the spent fuel rods could be safely stored up to 60 years following the shutdown of a nuclear facility. The District of Columbia Circuit of the United States Court of Appeals decided otherwise, citing environmental concerns in their June 8 decision:
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