U.S. regulators have opted against ordering the expedited transfer of spent atomic fuel from above-ground pools to dry casks, the Associated Press reports.
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission decided to abide by an internal advisement to cease exploring the idea of requiring atomic energy plants to speed up the removal of used fuel from storage pools to metal and concrete containers, according to a Friday commission memo.
“The commission has approved the staff’s recommendation that this … activity be closed and that no further generic assessments be pursued related to possible regulatory actions to require the expedited transfer of spent fuel to dry cask storage,” states the memo by Rochelle Bavol, acting commission secretary.
A number of U.S. lawmakers and activists have criticized the nuclear energy industry’s longstanding practice of keeping large quantities of highly radioactive atomic material in lightly protected storage pools. Their concern is that water surrounding the used fuel could escape its container and lead to the dispersal of harmful radiation into the environment in the event of an earthquake, flood or terrorist attack.
Last year, commission staff concluded that moving spent fuel to dry cask storage would not result in safety improvements great enough to warrant the extra financial cost that would come with implementing the measure.
Bill Dean, Nuclear Regulatory Commission northeast regional administrator, in an interview said the regulator had determined that both dry casks and pools were “adequate storage processes for spent fuel, and there is not a significant safety benefit to requiring full transfer to dry cask storage.”
U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) was one of five senators to write to the commission’s head in recent weeks to warn against easing safety and security regulations for mothballed civilian reactors.
“We are one natural disaster, mechanical failure or terrorist attack away from a disaster,” Sanders said in a Tuesday statement. “If the NRC will not change the rules, I will continue to work with my colleagues to change the rules through legislation.”
Clarification: This article was modified after publication to clarify the potential for radiation leaks.
What We're Following See More »
"Two chief fundraisers for the Clinton Foundation pressed corporate donors to steer business opportunities to former President Bill Clinton as well, according to a hacked memo published Wednesday by WikiLeaks. The November 2011 memo from Douglas Band, at the time a top aide to Mr. Clinton, outlines extensive fundraising efforts that Mr. Band and a partner deployed on behalf of the Clinton Foundation and how that work sometimes translated into large speaking fees and other paid work for Mr. Clinton."
House Oversight Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz plans to spend "years, come January, probing the record of a President Hillary Clinton." Chaffetz told the Washington Post: “It’s a target-rich environment. Even before we get to Day One, we’ve got two years’ worth of material already lined up. She has four years of history at the State Department, and it ain’t good.”
Priorities USA, the super PAC aligned with the Clinton campaign, which has already gotten involved in two Senate races, is now expanding into House races. The group released a 30 second spot which serves to hit Donald Trump and Iowa Rep. Rod Blum, who is in a tough race to win re-election in Iowa's first congressional district. The super PAC's expansion into House and Senate races shows a high level of confidence in Clinton's standing against Trump.
Republican House leaders are planning on taking up a vote to renew the Iran Sanctions Act as soon as the lame-duck session begins in mid-November. The law, which expires on Dec. 31, permits a host of sanctions against Iran's industries, defense, and government. The renewal will likely pass the House, but its status is unclear once it reaches the Senate, and a spokesman from the White House refused to say whether President Obama would sign it into law.
Just two weeks from Nov. 8, Donald Trump's campaign is not scheduling anymore high-dollar fundraisers, the type which usually benefit the Republican Party as a whole. The move comes as a surprise and could be a big blow to the GOP's turnout operations. Many down-ballot candidates are relying on the party apparatus to turn out voters in their districts and/or states, something that could be compromised. The last formal fundraiser occurred on Wednesday, Oct. 19.