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The New York Times’ Matt Wald reports a federal appeals court has ruled the country’s Nuclear Regulatory Commission must recognise that nuclear waste will now almost certainly end up staying on premises.In the ruling, the court scolds the NRC for having evidently drifted along for more than a decade in the vague hope that a permanent repository, such as the proposed Yucca Mountain facility in Nevada, would ultimately be established.
“The Commission apparently has no long term plan other than hoping for a geologic repository. If the government continues to fail in its quest to establish one, then SNF will seemingly be stored on site at nuclear plants on a permanent basis. The Commission can and must assess the potential environmental effects of such a failure.”
Basically, Yucca is over.
To be fair, the plan recently got a perfunctory jolt from the House, which allocated $10 million for the NRC “to move toward completing the Department of Energy’s (DOE) permit application for the use of Yucca Mountain as a nuclear storage site.”
But it’s not likely to go further than that. President Obama shelved any Yucca plans early on in his administration, and Mitt Romney has signaled an aversion to the plan.
Thus, as has been the case for decades now, and barring any happy surprises, nuclear waste will continue to be at or near one of the 121 facilities where it is generated.