With the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC)’s vote to issue
its General Environmental Impact Statement the Limerick Generating Station is
on its way to relicensing, which was in jeopardy of being delayed after the NRC
was required to revaluate the environmental impacts on its plan to store
“The purpose of this proposed rule is to improve the efficiency of the NRC’s licensing process by adopting into the NRC’s regulations an analysis of the generic environmental impacts of the continued storage of spent nuclear fuel beyond the licensed life for operations of a reactor,” according to the NRC.
In 2012, the U.S. Court of Appeals vacated a 2010 decision by the commission, stating that in the NRC had not planned on the possibility that the federal government would fail to establish a permanent home for the waste of nuclear power plants and had not adequately examined the risk of spent fuel leaks and spent fuel fires.
Currently, the nuclear rods used at Limerick stay radioactive for hundreds of years after being used to generate energy, and they are currently left to cool in concrete drums, located in Limerick and in nuclear plants across the country.
“The current regulatory framework used to renew current licenses can be extended to regulate the management of spent nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste for multiple renewal period,” according to the NRC, which states that the generic nature of risk analysis means that the environmental impact of each nuclear plant does not have to be analyzed.
"Our generic environmental impact statement analyzes several different scenarios to evaluate the impacts of keeping spent fuel stored at reactor sites; one scenario is that a repository will be available in 160 years. We do not make a definitive statement that will be the case.
Editor's Note: From David McIntyre, Office of Public Affairs, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission: The generic environmental impact statement analyzes several different scenarios to evaluate the impacts of keeping spent fuel stored at reactor sites; one scenario is that a repository will be available in 160 years.