Final decision on US nuclear license applications suspended

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Nuclear waste

American power plants looking for decisions on their licence applications are facing a setback.

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission has suspended final decisions, until it completes a reassessment of risks related to the storage of spent atomic fuel. This report was ordered by a federal court back in June.

The NRC consists of five members. Scott Burnell is the committee’s spokesperson. In an email, he told news agency Bloomberg that this week’s setback does not stop the agency’s overall review of license applications. It is just final decisions that will be held up.

Further to Burnell’s email, he went on to say that Energy Corp’s Indian Point power plant, north of New York City, is next in line for renewal of its U.S. license. Meanwhile, Duke Energy Corp’s application is close to getting a license for construction and operation of reactors in Levy County, Florida.

On June 8, the U.S. Court of Appeals stated that the NRC’s rules on permanent storage of nuclear waste failed to fully evaluate the risks. The Court also stated that new standards must be drafted.

The NRC action freezes nine construction and operating licenses, eight renewals, an operating license and an early site permit. That’s according to a statement from 24 groups led by the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy and Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League in Tennessee. The league had asked the NRC to halt the process.

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