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NRC Denies Public Citizen’s Application to Intervene in Nuclear Case

NRC Denies Public Citizen’s Application to Intervene in Nuclear Case

Statements of Adrian Shelley, Director, Public Citizen’s Texas office and Karen Hadden, Executive Director, SEED Coalition

Today, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission rejected a request by Public Citizen and other nuclear watchdog groups to intervene in a case that would license the dumping of  high-level radioactive waste at the Waste Control Specialists’ site in Andrews County, Texas. The NRC granted the Sierra Club intervenor status based on its concerns about compliance with the Endangered Species Act. SEED Coalition was also granted standing although each of its contentions was rejected. Judges on the NRC’s Atomic Safety and Licensing Board Panel are considering WCS’ proposal to ship the deadly waste across the country, through Texas and the Permian Basin, to a temporary storage site in Andrews County, Texas.

Shelley: Today’s ruling leaves many unanswered questions about the risk of high-level nuclear waste storage in Texas. The application to store high-level waste in West Texas ignores significant risks, misinterprets federal law, and dismisses the concerns of potentially affected communities. There are many concerns that state and federal lawmakers must still consider. If they did, we believe they would reject this ill-conceived proposal.

Hadden: Atomic Safety and Licensing Board Judges are turning a blind eye to the very real risks of transporting and storing the nation’s most deadly high-level radioactive waste. SEED Coalition was granted standing, but judges refuse to consider the significant well-documented health and safety issues our organization raised. Of 50 solid contentions submitted collectively by numerous parties, only one by Sierra Club will be considered further. Several organizations pointed out the illegality of proceeding with the licensing since the Nuclear Waste Policy Act requires a permanent repository to be available before consolidated interim storage can occur.