U.S. NRC Blog

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Waste Confidence Public Comment Period Ending Soon

MH900287136The NRC’s public comment period on the scope of an environmental impact statement for the waste confidence decision and rule ends January 2. The waste confidence decision and rule is related to the safety of spent fuel storage. So far, we have received more than 400 wide-ranging comments and suggestions on issues we should cover in this important document. Several more are anticipated before the deadline.

In addition to the hundreds of thoughtful comments on the scope of the environmental impact statement, we received much criticism on the scoping process itself, in particular with regard to the length of the scoping period, the January 2 deadline, how the notice was phrased, and whether the NRC was in compliance with its regulations. These concerns have been reviewed and considered by the NRC staff and the Commission. NRC Chairman Allison Macfarlane also responded in a letter earlier this month to some of the overarching concerns that have been raised.

The Commission maintained the original 70-day formal comment period, as it provides in its judgment sufficient time for the public to develop thoughtful comments. This period is also consistent with, or longer than, most other comment periods for other NRC actions. The scoping notice was published on October 25, 2012, and the NRC has held four public meetings to date.

The NRC will take into consideration all of the comments received and develop a draft environmental impact statement and proposed rule by August 2013. The public will also have an opportunity to comment on these documents. We plan to hold a number of regional public meetings across the U.S. after their issuance.

For more information about the NRC’s ongoing efforts to develop a generic environmental impact statement to support a revised Waste Confidence Decision and Rule, please visit the NRC’s website. While there, you can also sign up for automatic updates.

Keith McConnell
Director, Waste Confidence Directorate

2 responses to “Waste Confidence Public Comment Period Ending Soon

  1. Robert Vandenbosch January 2, 2013 at 3:51 pm

    Although I believe nuclear power is a necessary ingredient in an energy portfolio to address climate change, I do not see how the Nuclear Regulatory Commission can claim confidence that there will be a safe, sustainable permanent disposal path for nuclear waste at this time. The current administration’s request to withdraw the Yucca Mountain license application, and the NRC’s termination of its review of this application, has thrown nuclear waste policy into disarray. A Blue Ribbon Commission’s recommendations for a path forward were issued eleven months ago. The Department of Energy was supposed to issue its response to these recommendations last July, but has failed to do so. The most important Blue Ribbon Commission’s recommendations require Congressional action. The only step in this direction was the introduction of a bill to implement some of these recommendations. This bill has never left the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. In view of these failures, I do not believe the NRC is in a position to claim confidence in a disposal pathway. A Waste Confidence decision should be deferred until Congress passes and the President sign a durable path to nuclear waste disposal.
    Robert Vandenbosch

  2. CaptD December 31, 2012 at 2:01 pm

    Everyone that has an idea or suggestion should take the time to submit them before the end of the comment period.

    This is an opportunity that should not be wasted…

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