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. More than 80 reactor communities, as well as countless communities along proposed radioactive waste transport routes in 75% 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 National Grassroots Nuclear Waste Summit plans to precede and follow up the July 16 briefing (see event #O) with meetings with individual Congressional representatives and key staff. It will provide talking points, background information and help schedule meetings on Monday morning and late afternoon on July 16 and all day Tuesday, July 17. People can meet for breakfast early on July 16 for those who come early, and for dinner later on July 16 at location TBD to provide an orientation and pass out schedules and related materials.
East Capitol and First Streets, NE Rooms 201
Washington DC 20515