Conn. AG asks federal regulators to consider 'all alternatives' in review of spent fuel storage

By Jessica M. Karmasek | May 24, 2013

HARTFORD, Conn. (Legal Newsline) -- Connecticut Attorney General George Jepsen has joined with attorneys general in Vermont, Massachusetts and New York in asking federal regulators to broaden their review of spent nuclear fuel storage at nuclear power plants.

The petition, filed Wednesday with the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission, asks the regulators to look at the full range of potential alternatives, including the option of using dry casks, rather than cooling pools, to store spent fuel more than five years old; and not allowing more spent fuel to be produced until the commission determines there is a safe and environmentally acceptable permanent waste repository to receive the additional nuclear waste.

According to Jepsen's office, these options were excluded by the commission's staff in defining the scope of the agency's review.

Last year, a federal court ordered the commission to do a generic environmental impact study of storing highly radioactive spent fuel indefinitely at nuclear power plants because no federal storage facility was likely to be available.

"State residents, particularly those living near active or retired nuclear power plants, need to know the potential environmental impact of long-term storage of nuclear waste," Jepsen said in a statement Friday.

"Public confidence in the NRC's study will only result if all viable options, such as alternatives that can substantially mitigate potentially adverse impacts, are considered."

The attorneys general also asked the commission to provide guidance on what spent-fuel related issues would be decided on a site-specific basis after the environmental impact statement is issued. The commission's staff failed to include any criteria in their scope of the agency's review.

Connecticut has two active nuclear power plants: Millstone 2 and Millstone 3 in Waterford.

Two other nuclear plants, Millstone 1 in Waterford and Connecticut Yankee in Haddam, were retired, although the spent fuel they generated during their years of operation continues to be stored on site.

To view a copy of the petition, click here.

From Legal Newsline: Reach Jessica Karmasek by email at

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