DoE Ordered to Begin Accepting Waste
(July 24, 1996) – A federal appeals court ordered the Department of Energy to begin accepting spent nuclear fuel no later than January 31, 1998. This decision specifically rejected the DoE’s claim that the requirements of the Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1982 did not apply if there was no permanent repository.
The DoE has been collecting fees for the storage of spent nuclear fuel for more than a dozen years. So far the Nuclear Waste Fund has collected more than 12 billion dollars in fees and interest from nuclear plant owners without taking possession of any spent fuel.
Michigan Attorney General Frank J. Kelley, one of sixty claimants in the lawsuit against the DoE, hailed the decision. He said, “From the beginning of the nuclear power age, the federal government has recognized that the storage of nuclear wastes generated from our nation’s nuclear plants is a national problem which can be dealt with only by the federal government.”
Nuclear Power Reduces the Greenhouse Effect
(July 16, 1996) – The British Nuclear Energy Forum made a strong appeal to the head of the British delegation to a United Nation’s conference on global climate change. “If we are serious about combating global warming, we must retain and develop the nuclear energy option and encourage renewable energy sources as a matter of urgency,” said a letter by Roger Hayes, the BNIF director-general.
The United Nation’s conference is generating a significant level of controversy. A scientist linked to a group called the Global Climate Coalition (which includes many coal producers and energy intensive industrial companies) told a news conference in Geneva that a recent report linking global warming to human activity had used only selective evidence. A similar group from Australia and one from Kuwait and Saudi Arabia are arguing that there is no solid proof that warming is even occurring.
In opposition to this group are the governments of low lying nations, the United Nations Environmental Program, the World Health Organization and many insurance companies. The WHO has predicted that a warming trend would increase the risk of tropical diseases, while the insurance companies are concerned about their risk exposure in coastal areas if the sea level rises.
A running battle has erupted on the op-ed pages of major daily newspapers. Huge sums of money are potentially at stake if there is a move to restrict the burning of fossil fuels or if sea levels do begin to rise.