On Tuesday, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission announced that it would temporarily freeze any new licenses or renewal of licenses for nuclear power plants around the country. That decision by the NRC was prompted by a U.S. Court of Appeals ruling back in June that the NRC has insufficiently dealt with the problem of nuclear waste material - thus violating the National Environmental Policy Act. Currently, the NRC provides licenses under the assumption that it will find ways to dispose of nuclear waste in the future when it becomes “necessary” or that nuclear waste can be safely stored at reactors sites.
As we’re seeing in Japan, there are a lot of problems with nuclear waste stored inside the reactor building – and the U.S. Court of Appeals recognized as much when they issued their ruling against the NRC. One of the main litigants in the case against the NRC – Stephen Smith, the executive director of the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy said about the NRC’s decision, “We believe it is appropriate to halt nuclear licensing decisions and stop creating an inter-generational debt of nuclear waste that will burden our children and grandchildren for centuries to come.” Time to ditch nuclear power!