WNPJ, Allies Urge AG to Act on Nuke Waste

The Wisconsin Network for Peace and Justice, with seven member groups and allies, officially asked Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen to support a lawsuit that New York, Vermont, and Conneticut States are bringing against the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, for its violations of federal law in regards to nuclear waste storage.

The NRC has allowed toxic nuclear waste to remain at Wisconsin facilities without prior studies on the waste sites.  The Attorney General must intervene to protect the residents and businesses of Wisconsin, the groups argue.  The NRC must conduct site-by-site studies to ensure that the integrity of the waste storage structures remains intact and necessary repairs are made.  An especially important concern is groundwater contamination.

The groups' letter to Van Hollen is below.

February 24, 2011

The Honorable J.B. Van Hollen
Attorney General
114 East State Capitol
Madison, WI   53707-7857

RE:    Request to intervene in a lawsuit against the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

Dear Attorney General Van Hollen:

We respectfully request that you intervene in a lawsuit brought by several states against the federal government, for approving regulations regarding the storage of nuclear waste without following several federal laws.

On February 15, 2011, the states of New York, Vermont, and Connecticut (the Northeast States) filed a petition for judicial review against the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) for violating various federal laws, regulations, and policies in promulgating rules that would allow the storage of nuclear waste at reactor sites across the nation for at least 60 years after the reactors stop operating.  See attached D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals Case No. 11-1045, Petition for Review.  The Northeast States are concerned that the new rules from the NRC will allow the long-term storage of nuclear waste without completing the federally required review of the public health, safety, and environmental hazards such storage would pose.

We agree with the Northeast States that the NRC has promulgated rules that could lead to nearly indefinite storage of nuclear waste at reactor sites in Wisconsin, even though the NRC promulgated these rules without conducting studies, as required by federal law, regarding the safety or environmental impacts that could result from storing highly radioactive nuclear waste at Wisconsin reactors or elsewhere.

We urge you to intervene in this lawsuit to protect the interests of the residents and businesses in Wisconsin.  The NRC should conduct a site-by-site analysis to identify environmental, health, and safety impacts of long-term storage of nuclear waste at reactors located in Wisconsin.  Such a study could also determine appropriate mitigation measures, such as increased groundwater monitoring, reinforced containment structures, or repair of leaking spent fuel pools needed to address existing and potential problems from storing radioactive waste at reactor sites in Wisconsin.

Thank you for your consideration.


Charlie Higley
Executive Director
Citizens Utility Board
16 North Carroll St., #530
Madison, Wisconsin 53703

Katie Nekola
General Counsel
Clean Wisconsin
Madison, Wisconsin

Guy Wolf
Coulee Region Progressives
La Crosse, Wisconsin

Christina Mills, J.D.
Staff Scientist
Institute for Energy and Environmental Research
Takoma Park, Maryland

Kimberly Wright
Executive Director
Midwest Environmental Advocates
Madison, Wisconsin

Pam Kleiss
Executive Director
Physicians for Social Responsibility-Wisconsin
Madison, Wisconsin

Diane Farsetta, PhD
Executive Director
Wisconsin Network for Peace and Justice
Madison, Wisconsin

Al Gedicks
Executive Secretary
Wisconsin Resources Protection Council
La Crosse, Wisconsin