July 2, 2014
Dear President Obama-
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has recently issued a spectacularly bad 4-1 decision regarding high level nuclear waste, stating that there is no reason why nuclear reactors need to move the high level toxic waste, the spent fuel rods, from open pools to dry cask storage. Even before the ongoing and unprecedented disaster at Fukushima, the spent fuel pools, especially in those reactors with a similar design to those at Fukushima, were known to be a source of grave danger to surrounding communities should there be a loss of electricity to the facility or an act of terrorism. The fuel pools at Fukushima continue to be a huge problem more than three years after the melt downs, requiring huge amounts of cooling water that then becomes highly radioactive, with no certain path to safe disposal.
This decision is clearly not based on science, but was made by commissioners reacting to pressure from the nuclear industry eager to save on their waste management costs. The four commissioners who wrote this uninformed decision then stated that this issue is to no longer be discussed by the NRC. Ever.
Alison Macfarlane, the chair of the NRC, is a recognized expert on nuclear waste. She was the dissenting vote. Two NRC commissioners’ terms are expiring this year. We are asking you, President Obama, to appoint replacements who base their decisions on science and protecting public safety, not protecting the nuclear industry.
Our very own Vermont legislature was prohibited from considering public safety in our state when discussing Vermont Yankee reactor, or when making laws. We were told that the NRC is the only body that can regulate nuclear safety. We need an NRC that cares more about the welfare of the American public than promoting the industry.
Nancy Braus for the Safe and Green Campaign, Brattleboro, VT