Carbon-Free, Nuclear-Free Wisconsin Coalition
Coulee Region Progressives, Down River Alliance, Institute for Energy and Environmental Research, Nukewatch, Peace Action Wisconsin, Physicians for Social Responsibility Wisconsin, Wisconsin Network for Peace & Justice

Date: February 18, 2010 From: Carbon Free Nuclear Free Coalition To: Re: Interested Legislators Suggested amendment for nuclear energy language in Clean Energy Jobs Act

Our coalition continues to have serious concerns about the section of the Clean Energy Jobs Act (CEJA) that would weaken requirements for handling radioactive waste from nuclear reactors. Current law requires that a federal nuclear waste repository be operating before a new reactor can be built in Wisconsin. Proposed language in CEJA would eliminate that requirement, and simply say that the Public Service Commission must find that the utility’s plan for managing the nuclear waste from the reactor is “economic, reasonable, stringent, and in the public interest.” In the interest of protecting the public and the environment, we support some additional, more specific language in that section. Specifically, to be inserted after this section: SECTION 247. 196.493 (2) (am) 1m. of the statutes is created to read: 196.493 (2) (am) 1m. The plan for managing the nuclear waste from the proposed nuclear power plant is economic, reasonable, stringent, and in the public interest, given the safety and other risks presented by the waste. This subdivision first applies to certifications made on the date specified in the notice published under sub. (3) (b). ADD: Spent fuel, when moved from storage pools, will be stored in facilities that are sufficiently secure that foreseeable terrorist attacks would not cause severe economic disruption and casualties outside the perimeter of the nuclear power plant. Reasoning: A terrorist attack on nuclear waste would have severe economic consequences for the surrounding area, which is the purview of the state. This amendment aims to protect the public from these potential consequences by requiring secure storage of nuclear waste at any new nuclear reactors built in Wisconsin.

States are permitted to regulate economic liabilities from nuclear waste. The federal government is responsible for regulating technical, health and safety issues related to waste. By focusing on the economic effects of waste management, we do not run into issues of federal pre-emption. Definitions: “sufficiently secure:” in order for storage of nuclear waste to be secure on-site and therefore meet the public economic protection criteria, the amount of releases projected in even severe attacks should be low enough that the storage system would be unattractive as a terrorist target. Design criteria that would correspond to the overall objective must include: hardened storage that resists foreseeable severe attacks without major releases; and the placement of individual canisters that makes detection difficult from outside the site boundary. We do not include such technical specifications in the language above, because the Nuclear Regulatory Commission is responsible for such regulation. “foreseeable terrorist attacks:” attacks similar to those that have already occurred, and are therefore foreseeable, such as a direct hit by high-explosive or deeply penetrating weapons and munitions or a direct hit by a large aircraft loaded with fuel or a small aircraft loaded with fuel and/or explosives. Inclusion of this language will greatly strengthen the bill and protect Wisconsin’s citizens, economy and environment. It was drafted with the assistance of the Institute for Energy and Environmental Research, (IEER) Takoma Park, MD.

For additional information, please contact: Dr. Arjun Makhijani, IEER president, 301-270-5500; Jennifer Nordstrom, coordinator of the Carbon Free Nuclear Free campaign, 718-290-6399; Bill Christofferson of Wisconsin Network for Peace and Justice, 414/486-9651; or Dr. Jeffrey Patterson, president of Physicians for Social Responsibility, 608/206-2101.