Meeting on spent-fuel storage at nuclear plants is postponed

dsneed@thetribunenews.comOctober 4, 2013 

Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant

JOE JOHNSTON — jjohnston@thetribunenews.com Buy Photo

Due to the federal government shutdown, members of the public will not be able to offer input Monday on the long-term storage of used reactor fuel at nuclear plants.

A meeting to gather public input, planned by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, had been scheduled to take place in San Luis Obispo on Monday evening. However, because of the shutdown, it has been postponed, and no new date has been set.

The agency is seeking public input on its proposed waste confidence rule, which is a generic finding of the environmental impacts of storing highly radioactive spent reactor fuel at nuclear plants for extended periods of time after the plants have closed.

The rule does not authorize the extended storage of spent fuel at Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant. The plant has a separate license for that. Spent fuel at Diablo Canyon is stored in pools and dry casks.

The rule looks at a variety of environmental impacts associated with spent fuel storage, including groundwater, air quality, ecology, waste, public and occupational health, environmental justice and socioeconomics, as well as accidents and natural events, said Lara Uselding, NRC spokeswoman.

It also includes analyses of spent fuel pool leaks and spent fuel pool fires. The time frames considered range from 60 years after licensed life to an indefinite period of time. The indefinite time period assumes that a national storage repository for the fuel is never established.

The proposed findings were published Sept. 6; the public has until Nov. 27 to comment. The hearing in San Luis Obispo is one of 12 the agency is holding nationwide.

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