MCE Appeals License Extension of Ameren Missouri’s Callaway 1 Nuclear Reactor

Ameren recently received a 20-year license extension from the NRC, which extended the Callaway 1 nuclear operating license from 2024 to 2044. The NRC denied MCE’s challenge to stop the license extension.

On April 23, 2015, MCE appealed the NRC’s license extension for Callaway 1 due to our ongoing concern that the Continued Storage rule is inadequate. You can read the court filing here. The NRC has agreed to hold our appeal in abeyance until the Continued Storage litigation is complete. Should the court agree with MCE and vacate the Continued Storage rule, the Callaway 1 nuclear reactor would revert back to its 2024 operating license. The purpose of the Continued Storage legal challenge is to get the federal government to take nuclear waste disposal seriously as spent fuel rods continue to pile up at nuclear reactors across the country.

UPDATE: On November 13, 2015, MCE’s legal team filed our final Opening Brief and final Reply Brief with the United States Court of Appeals.

MCE Joins Legal Challenge of NRC’s Continued Storage of Spent Nuclear Fuel Rule in Federal Court

On October 29, 2014, the Missouri Coalition for the Environment (MCE) joined a lawsuit filed in the U.S. Court of Appeals challenging the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s (NRC) new rule on the Continued Storage of Spent Nuclear Fuel. The NRC’s rule is in response to the court throwing out its previous regulations on spent nuclear fuel in 2012. MCE and many other organizations are asking the Court of Appeals to throw out the NRC’s rules on spent nuclear fuel storage as the agency has once again failed to address the serious issues regarding long-term high-level radioactive wastes storage. Read the press release HERE. MCE is involved in the lawsuit because of our challenge of Ameren’s Callaway 1 nuclear reactor license extension. Missouri is one of many states that continues to create high-level radioactive wastes without any clue as to how it will be ultimately disposed of.

A Quick History

2012: The US District Court of Appeals throws out the NRC’s ‘Waste Confidence’ regulations for licensing and relicensing nuclear reactors. The so-called Waste Confidence regulations:

1) Assumed a repository will exist at some point in the future for high-level nuclear wastes.

2) Assumed that high-level nuclear wastes can be stored safely at nuclear reactors.

2013: The NRC worked on drafting a new rule and taking public testimony.

2014: The NRC published its new rule in August, which would allow for the licensing and relicensing of nuclear reactors to resume.

Below: Ameren Missouri’s Callaway 1 Nuclear Reactor near Fulton, Missouri.

MCE Requests NRC Freeze Callaway 1 License Extension

On December 8, 2014, the Missouri Coalition for the Environment filed a new challenge with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) regarding the 20-year license extension that Ameren Missouri is seeking for its Callaway 1 nuclear reactor. MCE is already part of a legal challenge, which includes NY, VT, and CT, in the US Court of Appeals regarding the NRC’s new Continued Storage of Spent Nuclear Fuel rule (see below). The Continued Storage rule regulates spent nuclear fuel and is necessary for the NRC to grant licenses and license extensions for nuclear reactors. Callaway is the first nuclear reactor that could be relicensed under this new rule. That’s why MCE is requesting the NRC freeze the licensing decision for the Callaway 1 nuclear reactor until after the US Court of Appeals has decided whether the Continued Storage rule is legal under the National Environmental Policy Act. MCE will appeal the NRC’s decision in Court should our request be denied. The NRC has no reason to rush the license extension of the Callaway 1 nuclear reactor because its current operating license does not expire until 2024, which allows plenty of time for the Court of Appeals to clear up the legal issues with the Continued Storage rule.

MCE Calls for Resignation of NRC Commission Magwood for Conflict of Interest

The Missouri Coalition for the Environment (MCE) and 33 organizations around the country are asking President Barack Obama to request the resignation of controversial U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) Commissioner William D. Magwood for federal ethics violations and conflicts of interest tied to Magwood’s campaigning for and being named to an international job promoting the interests of the nuclear power industry.  The 34 groups also sent a separate letter to the NRC Office of Inspector General (OIG) urging an investigation of Magwood that could lead to a referral to the U.S. Department of Justice for prosecution.

July 21, 2014: MCE calls on President Obama to request the resignation of Commissioner Magwood.

July 21, 2014: MCE calls on the NRC Office of Inspector General to investigate Commissioner Magwood for federal ethics violations and conflict of interest.

July 14, 2014: Commission Magwood refuses to resign in a response to MCE and 33 other organizations.

June 8, 2014: MCE and 33 organizations send a letter to Commission Magwood asking for his immediate resignation. William D. Magwood negotiated with and accepted a job, while serving as an NRC Commissioner, as the Director-General with the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development’s Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA). The NEA’s mission is:

“To assist its member countries in maintaining and further developing, through international co-operation, the scientific, technological and legal bases required for a safe, environmentally friendly and economical use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes. To provide authoritative assessments and to forge common understandings on key issues as input to government decisions on nuclear energy policy and to broader OECD policy analyses in areas such as energy and sustainable development.”

The NRC’s mission is:

“The NRC licenses and regulates the Nation’s civilian use of radioactive materials to protect public health and safety, promote the common defense and security, and protect the environment.”