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Court upholds nuclear plants’ use of spent fuel pools

NEW YORK — A federal appeals court has refused a request by several states to force the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to declare spent fuel pools at nuclear power plants a serious environmental threat.

Spent fuel assemblies at Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant are stored in pools for at least five years before cooling enough for transfer to dry casks.

The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Monday in Manhattan. It denied appeals by New York, Connecticut and Massachusetts that it review the NRC’s rejection of a request by Massachusetts and California that it raise the risk level.

The states had argued that spent fuel causes a greater risk of fire than previously appreciated. The appeals court said it must defer to the regulatory agency’s expertise.

Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal said he will continue legal actions to force the agency to create a central national site to store nuclear waste.

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