NRC’s Waste Confidence Scoping Report: What’s It All About?
March 22, 2013
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Chief, Communications Branch, Waste Confidence Directorate
The NRC’s Waste Confidence Directorate has issued its scoping summary report – based on the 1,700 comments we received on the question of what issues we’ll consider in the environmental review of the agency’s policy on long-term spent fuel storage. As you can imagine, there was tremendous public interest in this report.
The Generic Environmental Impact Statement (GEIS) and a related regulation will be the NRC’s response to last year’s U.S. Appeals Court ruling. That ruling directed the agency to analyze the environmental effects of never having a permanent repository for the nation’s spent nuclear fuel, as well as further analyses of spent fuel pool leaks and fires.
The scoping report does what its name implies – it defines the scope of the environmental review. The report lists comments and subject areas that will be covered in the GEIS (“in scope”) and explains why other subjects – such as defense waste, reprocessing facilities, and site-specific safety concerns – will not (“out of scope”).
This report also describes how the upcoming GEIS will be structured. We anticipate publishing the draft GEIS in September, with a series of public meetings across the country to present the draft and receive public comments.
During the scoping process, Waste Confidence Directorate staff reviewed some 700 comment submissions with 1,700 individual comments. Staff grouped and responded to the comments according to common concerns and issues. All comments, regardless of who submitted them or how they were submitted, received equal consideration. In addition to the summary report, the NRC has compiled and listed all 1,700 comments in a separate comment document.
The NRC is sending a copy of the scoping summary report to each person and organization who participated in the scoping process. The Waste Confidence Directorate holds monthly public teleconferences to discuss the status of the Waste Confidence GEIS and rulemaking.
There will be more opportunities for the public to participate and comment on waste confidence as the process goes on. The draft GEIS and proposed rule are scheduled to be issued later this year, and the NRC is planning to conduct regional public meetings to discuss these documents. Stay tuned for more details!