The US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is trying to slip a big one past us: NRC wants to let nuclear power waste go to your local landfill if the landfill operator wants it—without telling you.
The agency is trying to do away with the need for nuclear dumps to have licenses to store radioactive waste. In other words, there would be no more regulatory controls over Very Long-Lasting Waste (VLLW). The industry would be glad to send it to hazardous waste sites not fit for nuclear waste as well, making those dumps even more hazardous. Radioactive waste could also end up in recycling, reuse, or other waste streams, too.
The NRC is proposing a reinterpretation its longstanding rules, without due process, to do away with the age-old requirement for a company to have a license to handle radioactive materials before they take nuclear waste—waste that can be dangerous for decades, centuries, or, in some cases, literally millions of years. The NRC’s VLLW plan doesn't have any verifiable or enforceable limits, nor does it have any provision for public notification or legal intervention.
The US NRC, Department of Energy, Department of Transportation, and Environmental Protection Agency have tried over a dozen times already to release nuclear waste from controls. And the public has stopped almost every effort.
This new push for VLLW is the latest attempt to remove protections for the public against exposure to nuclear waste by pretending it is safe. And, once more, it is up to the public to stop it again.
This time the Very Large Lie about nuclear Waste is the false claim by NRC that it is very low level (VLLW). It's NOT.
The main motive is to make it cheaper to decommission shut down nuclear power reactors by letting the bulk of the radioactive buildings, soil, components and other parts go to regular trash or hazardous landfills instead of one of the four licensed nuclear waste sites in the country.
Many nuclear waste companies, state nuclear regulators, and nuclear waste compact officials who are strong nuclear power supporters are opposing this VLLW plan because it radically changes the rules after decades. Public interest groups watchdogging nuclear waste would like even stronger controls, but we are in agreement with these officials that this VLLW plan of NRC is a no go.