NRC’s Waste Confidence Scoping Report: What’s It All About?

Andy Imboden
Chief, Communications Branch, Waste Confidence Directorate

wcd_banner_smallThe 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!

NRC Sustainability Plan Shows an Agency Committed to the Environment

Ian Fisher
Sustainability Manager


As required by Executive Order, the NRC submits an annual Sustainability Plan to the White House and OMB. This plan outlines the agency’s plans to be a good environmental steward through efforts to reduce greenhouse gases, increase use of renewable energy and reduce gas consumption.

The NRC has posted its plan online. It reflects the agency’s commitment to conducting our agency business in an environmentally and responsible and sustainable way.

In short, the NRC met or exceeded all relevant local, state and federal environmental laws and regulations, continually enhanced our business practices to minimize environmental impact, and sought to manage the agency’s ecological footprint by reducing the use of natural resources and preventing pollution.

As the plan shows, during FY2011, the agency implemented and continued a number of energy-reduction projects. We made changes to the air conditioning system at our Rockville, Md., headquarters that allowed us to cool the buildings more efficiently. We expanded our telework program which, in turn, reduces the number of cars commuting to work. The agency also is upgrading its restrooms with water saving toilets and faucets, which may save as much as 10 to 15 percent of water usage.

An additional office building in the White Flint headquarters complex was also built with aggressive energy efficiency and “green” technologies in mind.

We hope you’ll take a minute to review our latest update.