Decommissioning Nuclear Power Plants: What Congress, Federal Agencies and Communities Need to Know


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Decommissioning Nuclear Power Plants:

What Congress, Federal Agencies and Communities Need to Know

 

Monday, July 16 2018    |   2 PM – 3:30 PM

Room HC-8, U.S. Capitol Building

Please RSVP to expedite check-in: www.eesi.org/071618nuclear#rsvp

Live webcast will be streamed at: www.eesi.org/livecast

 

The Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI) invites you to a briefing on the urgent need to safely decommission nuclear power plants, which are increasingly shutting down. The United States is facing a significant wave of nuclear plant closures for which it is unprepared. Most of the existing U.S. reactor fleet will inevitably close over the next two decades, as plants near the ends of their operational lifespans. Decommissioning is the process of dismantling the closed plant and securing or removing radioactive waste while lowering the site’s residual radioactivity to safer levels. Getting decommissioning right is critical to communities’ health and safety, while getting it wrong could pose an existential threat.

 

Leading scientists, policy experts, NGO advocates, and local elected officials with experience of decommissioning will speak at the briefing. It will cover the impacts of decommissioning, current decommissioning options, waste storage vs. transport, thorny unsolved problems and best practices, financing and liability, a just transition for communities and workers, how communities and states can and can’t weigh in on these issues, and how they should inform the fast-changing legislative and regulatory landscape. Briefers include:

 

  • Mayor Al Hill, of Zion, Illinois, home of the decommissioned Zion Nuclear Power Station
  • Robert Alvarez, Senior Scholar, Institute for Policy Studies; former Department of Energy Senior Policy Advisor to the Secretary and Deputy Assistant Secretary for National Security and the Environment
  • Geoffrey H. Fettus, Senior Attorney for Energy & Transportation, Natural Resources Defense Council
  • Kevin Kamps, Radioactive Waste Specialist, Beyond Nuclear
  • Bob Musil (moderator), President and CEO of the Rachel Carson Council; former Executive Director, Physicians for Social Responsibility

 

More than 80 reactor communities, as well as countless communities along proposed radioactive waste transport routes in 75 percent of Congressional districts, will be profoundly affected by how decommissioning is handled. The potential for radiological contamination, accidents, and long-term environmental, public health and economic damage increases as plants are dismantled and radioactive materials are handled, moved and stored. Reactor communities risk becoming de facto stewards of stranded high-level nuclear waste, which poses local and regional threats. Yet,  in most cases, shipping the waste can pose even greater threats. Communities will have to deal with the economic impacts of the legacy of reactor sites that can never be fully decontaminated.

 

The existing regulatory and legislative framework around decommissioning nuclear plants is insufficient to handle these issues, and in any case it is changing rapidly as Congress considers pending legislation (HR 3053 is just one example) and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission drafts new rules that will govern decommissioning and spent fuel disposition. The experts addressing this briefing have learned surprising lessons about decommissioning that Washington needs to hear as it makes key decisions the consequences of which we will live with for a long time to come.

 

This briefing is co-sponsored by Beyond Nuclear, Ecological Options Network, Hudson River Sloop Clearwater, Indian Point Safe Energy Coalition (IPSEC), Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), Nuclear Energy Information Service (NEIS), Nuclear Resource and Information Service (NIRS), Riverkeeper, Safe Energy Rights Group, Unity for Clean Energy (U4CE), and others.

This event is free and open to the public. Contact Amaury Laporte at alaporte@eesi.org, (202) 662-1884

Location

Room HC-8, U.S. Capitol Building
East Capitol St NE & First St SE, Washington, DC 20004
Washington DC 20004

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