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Appeals Court Tosses Suit from Environmentalists, Midland Oil Company Contesting Nuclear Waste Storage Permit

Various suits against the NRC and the storage site linger in courts across the country.

The Texan BRAD JOHNSON 27 Jan 23

The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals tossed a challenge from anti-nuclear organization Beyond Nuclear, environmental groups the Sierra Club and Don’t Waste Michigan, and a Midland-based oil company against the approval of a spent nuclear fuel interim storage permit for a facility in West Texas.

In September 2021, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) approved a permit application for the storage of spent nuclear fuel at an Andrews County facility. Interim Storage Partners is jointly owned by Orano USA and Waste Control Specialists — the latter of which has operated a storage facility for low-level radioactive waste at the site for more than a decade.

During the second special session of 2021, Gov. Greg Abbott and the Texas Legislature abruptly passed legislation banning the storage of high-level radioactive waste, including spent nuclear fuel, in response to the NRC. That led to the state suing the NRC over the permit, a case still pending in court.

But the permit approval also sparked other lawsuits from a collection of activists, interest groups, and Fasken Oil & Ranch, the Midland company, consolidated into one proceeding.

On Wednesday, the court dismissed the group’s various claims and tossed the suit; Beyond Nuclear contended that the NRC acted “arbitrarily and capriciously,” the environmental groups alleged the agency “ignor[ed] deficiencies in the project’s environmental impact statement,” and Fasken asserted that it was wrongfully denied the ability to insert into the record its arguments against issuance of the permit by the NRC.

Kevin Kamps, a spokesman for Beyond Nuclear, told The Texan, “We are certainly disappointed and unfortunately the ruling focuses on a procedural technicality.” Kamps said that there is a similar permit and suit in development in New Mexico for a planned interim storage site there. He’s also optimistic that a ruling in the State of Texas’ suit will help their case here, potentially creating contradicting court decisions.

He added that “we’re not going anywhere” and hopes that courts will consider whether the NRC even has the authority from Congress to grant these permits — which he argues the agency doesn’t…………………. more


January 29, 2023 - Posted by | Legal, USA, wastes

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