NJ joins lawsuit

New Jersey is joining a lawsuit against the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission over how long spent nuclear fuel can be allowed to remain at reactor sites.

The NRC issued new guidelines that allows nuclear plants to keep their used fuel on-site for up to 60 years after the reactor is shut down, up from 30 years. New York, Vermont and Connecticut are already part of the suit.

The problem lies in the lack of a permanent disposal site. The government said in 2010 it would not move forward with construction of a disposal site at Yucca Mountain in Nevada.

"We are joining in this challenge because of the potential of significant public health and safety implications, and the potential impact on New Jersey's environment," DEP Commissioner Robert Martin was quoted as saying. "The federal government has an obligation to develop a permanent plan for nuclear waste storage, and cannot avoid an answer by extending the time that radioactive waste is allowed to remain on sites in New Jersey and across the nation. That is not acceptable."

New Jersey has four nuclear reactors, two at the Salem site and one each at Oyster Creek and Hope Creek.

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