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.
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"By all means vote, just not for Donald Trump." That's the message from USA Today editors, who are making the first recommendation on a presidential race in the paper's 34-year history. It's not exactly an endorsement; they make clear that the editorial board "does not have a consensus for a Clinton endorsement." But they state flatly that Donald Trump is, by "unanimous consensus of the editorial board, unfit for the presidency."
Today in bad news for Donald Trump:
- Newsweek found that a company he controlled did business with Cuba under Fidel Castro "despite strict American trade bans that made such undertakings illegal, according to interviews with former Trump executives, internal company records and court filings." In 1998, he spent at least $68,000 there, which was funneled through a consluting company "to make it appear legal."
- The Los Angeles Times reports that at a golf club he owns in California, Trump ordered that unattractive female staff be fired and replaced with prettier women.