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Petition filed to delay Callaway Energy Center license renewal

December 10, 2014 at 6:00 a.m. | Updated December 10, 2014 at 6:00 a.m.

Missouri Coalition for the Environment (MCE) filed a petition on Dec. 8 to intervene in the license renewal of Ameren Missouri's Callaway Energy Center, according to MCE. The nuclear facility is expecting a decision from the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) on its application for a license renewal this month.

MCE also recently joined a lawsuit that challenges the NRC 's newly revised Continued Storage of Spent Nuclear Fuel Rule. New York, Connecticut and Vermont are leading that challenge to the NRC's revised rule.

The NRC revised the rule in response to a previous court ruling. After the end of the repository program at Yucca Mountain in 2012, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit struck down provisions of the NRC's Waste Confidence Rule, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. At that time, the NRC suspended all actions related to issuing license renewals and new operating licenses.

With the NRC's revised and renamed Continued Storage of Spent Nuclear Fuel Rule - which became effective Oct. 20 - it resumed issuing license renewals of nuclear facilities.

If the NRC grants the Callaway Energy Center its request for a license extension, the Callaway plant will be the first license granted under the NRC's new rule, according to an MCE press release.

Ed Smith with MCE previously told the Fulton Sun that he thinks the NRC should wait to issue the Callaway plant's license renewal until after there is an outcome for the recently filed lawsuit. He echoed that sentiment in a recent statement about the MCE's petition.

"Nuclear waste storage challenges have plagued the United States since the beginning of the Atomic Age," Smith said in a statement. "There is no rush to grant Ameren a license extension until the legal challenges on the NRC's new and controversial high-level nuclear waste regulations are resolved in Court."

The Callaway plant's current operating license is set to expire in 2024.

The NRC informed MCE that it doesn't plan to accept its petition for intervention, according to an MCE press release. If the NRC does not accept the organization's petition, MCE plans to appeal its request's denial in the U.S. Court of Appeals. At that point, the appeal will be added to the MCE's challenge of the NRC's Continued Storage rule in the lawsuit being led by other states.

Lara Uselding with NRC public affairs told the Fulton Sun that she was not aware of a petition as of Tuesday afternoon and that the Callaway plant's license renewal application would be handled by the normal process.


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