For Immediate Release - August 13, 2013

AG Coakley and Senate President Murray Issue Joint Statement on Court’s Order for NRC to Make Decision on Yucca Mountain

Federal Appeals Court Orders NRC to Rule on Application to License Yucca Mountain as a Long Term Nuclear Waste Storage Site

BOSTON – Attorney General Martha Coakley and Senate President Therese Murray issued the following joint statement today regarding a federal appeals court decision ordering the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) to issue a decision on the Department of Energy’s application to license Yucca Mountain in Nevada as a long term nuclear storage facility for spent fuel.

“We applaud the court for ordering the NRC to make a decision on Yucca Mountain which Congress asked the Commission to consider as a storage site more than thirty years ago. This is a major public safety and environmental issue in Massachusetts and across the country, and we have long said that the federal government has an obligation to implement long term solutions for the storage of spent nuclear fuel

BACKGROUND:

Following years of effort to protect public safety and the environment from the risks oflong-term storage of spent fuel at nuclear facilities in or near Massachusetts, In May, AG Coakley and Senate President Murray urged Congress to pass a bill that will provide for the removal of waste at civilian nuclear reactors and transfer it to a permanent offsite repository.

In a letter to members of Congress, AG Coakley and Senate President Murray strongly expressed their support for the Nuclear Waste Administration Act of 2013 (NWAA). The bill is based on a recommended strategy by the Blue Ribbon Commission on America’s Nuclear Future that establishes a process for creating more appropriate storage facilities, and enables the federal government to fulfill its commitment to managing nuclear waste.

When reactors such as Pilgrim and Vermont Yankee were licensed by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) in the 1970s, regulators assumed that the spent fuel would be transferred offsite to a permanent disposal facility. More than 40 years later, a permanent repository still has not been constructed.  As a result, ratepayers have been forced to pay for the additional costs of updating and expanding wet storage pools to create more on-site storage.

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