WASHINGTON D.C. - JULY 5 - Washington, D.C.--Nuclear Information and Resource Service (NIRS), in coalition with the Alliance for Nuclear Responsibility, has gathered support from over 150 statewide and nationwide organizations for its comments criticizing the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission's (NRC) "Finding of No Significant Impact" regarding the construction and operation of a high-level radioactive waste outdoor storage site at Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant near San Luis Obispo, California. The comments strongly challenged NRC's Environmental Assessment as woefully inadequate in a post-9/11 world.
In June, 2006 the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ordered NRC to revise its environmental assessment for the project to include consideration of the risks of terrorist attacks against the facility. San Luis Obispo Mothers for Peace were the lead plaintiffs against NRC, demanding protection against terrorist attacks on the proposed facility.
Other entities also filed separate comments critical of NRC's finding of no terrorist risk at Diablo Canyon, including the State of Nevada, Public Citizen, Beyond Nuclear and Riverkeeper.
The coalition concluded that "NRC's Environmental Assessment for the Diablo Canyon irradiated nuclear fuel storage facility completely fails to demonstrate that the NRC made a 'fully informed and well-considered' determination of no significant impacts…the National Environmental Policy Act requires the NRC to go back to the drawing board and provide an analysis that is understandable and scientifically supported."
NIRS rebutted the testimony of the NRC, U.S. Department of Energy, the industry's lobby firm Nuclear Energy Institute, and others who advocate unsafe and insecure dry cask storage for high-level radioactive waste in the absence of a long-term waste management plan.
"A terrorist attack on high-level radioactive waste storage containers at the Diablo Canyon atomic reactors could unleash catastrophic amounts of deadly radioactivity downwind and downstream for long distances," said Kevin Kamps, nuclear waste specialist at NIRS. "These storage containers must be fortified against terrorist attacks, but NRC is derelict in its duty to protect public health and safety and the environment."
"The only real solution to the radioactive waste problem is to not make it in the first place," said Kamps. "We need to shut down the Diablo Canyon atomic reactors, for the sake of safety, security, and protection of the environment and public health against the hazards of radioactivity."
"For those wastes that already exist at Diablo Canyon, they need to be fortified against attack and safeguarded against accident on-site, given the nuclear establishment's utter lack of any safe, sound long-term management plan," said Kamps.