The NFRC was established in 2002 to promote the construction and operation of nuclear reprocessing facilities. NFRC promotes reprocessing commercial spent nuclear fuel that is generated by commercial nuclear power plants.

Reprocessing dramatically reduces the amount of high-level radioactive waste that would have to be stored in a geologic repository. We also support reprocessing plutonium and highly enriched uranium from nuclear warheads into fuel for use in commercial nuclear power plants.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Northeast Church Rock Mine Superfund Reclamation

Northeast Church Rock Mine site (Photo courtesy United Nuclear Corporation)
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has approved a plan for the clean up of the largest and highest priority abandoned uranium mine on the Navajo Nation. Cleanup of the Northeast Church Rock Mine will include removal of 1.4 million tons of soil contaminated with radium and uranium from a site that was operated as a uranium ore mine by United Nuclear Corporation from 1967 to 1982. Located near Gallup, New Mexico, the mine adjoins the United Nuclear Corporation uranium mill site, a Superfund site managed jointly by EPA Region 6 and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. At the request of the Navajo Nation, the EPA is using Superfund authority to investigate and clean up the contaminated mine site, in coordination with the existing adjacent Superfund site clean up.

Most of the 125-acre mine permit area is immediately adjacent to the Navajo Nation. The mine is mostly on Navajo tribal trust land, while the mill is on private fee land. There is a small community of residents who live next to the mine site on the reservation, downstream and downwind of the radioactive waste piles. The residents graze sheep, cattle and horses, and collect herbs around the area.

The disposal cell will be designed with participation from the Navajo Nation, the State of New Mexico, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, and the U.S. Department of Energy. Northeast Church Rock mine operated as a uranium ore mine from approximately 1967 to 1982, and included an 1,800-foot deep shaft, waste piles, and several surface ponds. Under U.S. EPA oversight and in conjunction with the Navajo Nation EPA, General Electric, United Nuclear Corporation's indirect parent corporation, conducted two previous cleanups at the site to deal with residual contamination, including the removal and rebuilding of one building in 2007, and removal of over 40,000 tons of contaminated soil in 2010. (Environment News Service, 9/29/2011)

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

EDF Could Vote Against Constellation/Exelon Merger

Electricite de France Group (EDF Group) is threatening to vote against Constellation Energy's plans to sell itself to Exelon Corporation in a $7.9 billion merger after talks between them broke down last week. Officials with EDF, a French company that owns nearly half of Constellation's nuclear power plants, are concerned the company will lose autonomy as a smaller part of Chicago-based Exelon, according to the sources.  Under the nuclear joint venture, EDF and Constellation own the Calvert Cliffs nuclear plant in Southern Maryland and two others in upstate New York.

EDF is Constellation Energy's second-largest shareholder and a partner in its nuclear business, holding a 7.2 percent stake in Constellation. Baltimore-based T. Rowe Price is the largest shareholder in Constellation, with a 7.3 percent stake. Baltimore-based T. Rowe Price is the largest shareholder in Constellation, with a 7.3 percent stake.  Constellation sold 49.99 percent of its nuclear power business to EDF in 2008 amid serious financial troubles.

It makes sense for EDF to use its vote as a bargaining chip to get its concerns addressed. It would make sense that as a large generator in Maryland and as co-owners of Calvert Cliffs that EDF would try to make sure that the merger would not adversely affect them.

Constellation is concerned that EDF has made several demands that Constellation claims to be unable to accommodate. Uppermost among the demands, according to Constellation is that they believe that EDF's objective is to recoup financial losses they incurred in earlier transactions. Constellation believes that EDF's  approval is not required for the merger to be successful.

Constellation Energy Nuclear Group, which is also based in Baltimore, now operates independently through a 10-member board to which EDF and Constellation each appoint five members. A chairman named by Constellation holds a tiebreaking vote on matters related to safety, security and reliability. (Baltimore Sun, 9/26/2011)

Pinon Ridge Uranium Mill: 1st To Be Constructed in 20 Years

The proposed location of Piñon Ridge
 in the Paradox Valley of Montrose County 
 is twelve miles from Naturita, Colo.,
 and approximately fifty miles
 from Telluride and Ophir
Piñon Ridge would be the first new uranium mill in the U.S. in more than a quarter century. Energy Fuels is developing this new uranium mill and is a uranium mining company with offices in Naturita, Colorado , Lakewood, Colorado, and Kanab, Utah, and uranium properties throughout the Four Corners area of Colorado, Arizona and Utah.

On November 18, 2009, Energy Fuels Resources Corp. submitted an application for a radioactive materials license that is required before the company can begin construction on a proposed uranium mill in Montrose County. The proposed site for the mill is approximately 12 miles west of Naturita in the Paradox Valley. The proposed mill would process up to 500 tons of ore per day.

State of Colorado Radioactive Materials License approved January 5, 2011.

Montrose County Special Use Permit approved September 30, 2009.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

26 Organizations Call for Resumption of Yucca Mountain Review

LETTER and Press Release

More than two dozen prominent national, state, local and Native American organizations have written to the U.S. Senate expressing their support for funding for the resumption of the Yucca Mountain Project review by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) and related licensing-support activities at the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).

The 26 organizations -- which comprise a cross-section of energy consumers, regulators, elected officials, Native Americans and community entities and businesses -- include the Nuclear Fuels Reprocessing Coalition, National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Prairie Island Indian Community, U.S. Nuclear Infrastructure Council, Institute for 21st Century Energy, Nuclear Waste Strategy Coalition, U.S. Nuclear Energy Foundation and the Sustainable Fuel Cycle Task Force, among others.

Citing recent findings by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Blue Ribbon Commission on America's Nuclear Future and the Senate Appropriations Committee as well as a July vote by the U.S. House of Representatives to restore funding for the review, the letter states that "we agree that the need for the Federal government to meet its responsibility for commercial spent fuel and defense waste management under the Nuclear Waste Policy Act is a matter of urgency -- and that further delay is only exacerbating taxpayer liability and diminishing confidence in resolution of this national concern.

It is increasingly clear that termination of the Yucca Mountain license application without clear legal authority and without an alternative plan has proven to be premature and unwise as well as deleterious generally to the nation's energy independence, economic competitiveness and environmental progress.

To this end, funding to facilitate resumption of the Yucca Mountain review in FY2012 - a site which heretofore has been found to be safe and viable and which is the highest confidence option currently available-- is strongly warranted.
Further Information: Edward Davis Sustainable Fuel Cycle Task Force 202-403-7711

Monday, September 12, 2011

Explosion At Nuclear Waste Treatment Site In France Kills One

Marcoule nuclear waste treatment site

A furnace exploded at the Marcoule nuclear waste treatment site in southern France today killed one person. According to France's ASN nuclear safety watchdog, there was no leak of radioactive material outside the furnace. Four other people were injured, one seriously, in the blast at the Centraco site, owned by French power utility EDF and adjacent to the Marcoule nuclear research center. The site does not house any nuclear reactors. The furnace that exploded is used to melt waste with levels of radioactivity ranging from low to very high, ASN said.

No immediately reason has been given for the blast and staff at the plant reacted to the accident according to planned procedures. Police also said there was no contamination outside the site, which is about 18 miles from the city of Avignon and about 50 miles from the Mediterranean coast. (MSNBC, 9/12/2011)

Rescue services evacuate a person injured after an explosion  at the French nuclear
waste treatment site of Marcoule, southern France September 12, 2011.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Support Letter for Yucca Mountain Appropriations Bill

September 1, 2011

The Honorable Dianne Feinstein, Chairman
Senate Appropriations’ Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development

The Honorable Lamar Alexander, Ranking Member
Senate Appropriations’ Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development

Dear Senators:

The undersigned organizations, which collectively represent a national cross-section of energy consumers, regulators, elected officials and businesses, are writing to advise you of our strong support for funding in the FY2012 Energy and Water Development appropriations bill for resumption of the Yucca Mountain Project review by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) and related licensing-support activities at the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).

As you know, the House voted on July 15 in favor of the FY2012 Energy and Water Appropriations bill, which provides a total of $20 million to the NRC for the continuation of the license review for the Yucca Mountain Project (reached through the bipartisan approval of a floor amendment doubling the original funding mark of $10 million by a resounding vote of 297-130) and $25 million to DOE for continuing its activities towards completing the Yucca Mountain licensing application.

In addition, a recent House Science, Space, and Technology Committee review of the Yucca Mountain Safety Evaluation Report (Volume III) found the licensing application “complies with applicable NRC safety requirements, including those related to human health and groundwater protection, and the specific performance objectives called for in NRC regulations for disposal of high-level radioactive wastes at Yucca Mountain.”

Moreover, on July 29, in a draft report to Energy Secretary Steven Chu, the Blue Ribbon Commission on America’s Nuclear Future (BRC) stressed their “shared sense of urgency” with respect to addressing the back-end of the fuel cycle noting that “this nation’s failure to come to grips with the nuclear waste issue has already proved damaging and costly and it will be more damaging and more costly the longer it continues.”  The BRC draft report concludes that “deep geologic disposal capacity is an essential component of a comprehensive nuclear waste management system” while calling for “prompt efforts to develop one or more geological disposal facilities.”

They further add: ‘The recent decision by the Administration to attempt to withdraw the Yucca Mountain license application has further diminished confidence in the government’s ability to provide a safe and timely solution for the disposal of spent fuel and HLWs”… and …”it is clear to the Commission that waste cleanup commitments were made to states and communities across the United States, and to the nuclear utility industry and its ratepayers and shareholders, that have not been upheld. The decision to suspend work on the repository has left all of these parties wondering, not for the first time, if the federal government will ever deliver on its promises.”

As further stipulated by the Commission, the continued spent fuel management stalemate is “damaging to prospects for maintaining a potentially important energy supply option for the future, damaging to state–federal relations and public confidence in the federal government’s competence, and damaging to America’s standing in the world— not only as a source of nuclear technology and policy expertise but as a leader on global issues of nuclear safety, non-proliferation, and security. Continued stalemate is also costly—to utility ratepayers, to communities that have become unwilling hosts of long-term nuclear waste storage facilities, and to U.S. taxpayers who face mounting liabilities, already running into billions of dollars, as a result of the failure by both the executive and legislative branches to meet federal waste management.”

While we do not necessarily concur with all the conclusion of the Commission, we do believe that termination of the Yucca Mountain license application has been proven to be premature and unwise as well as deleterious in general to the nation’s energy independence, economic competitiveness and environmental progress – and that House action to facilitate resumption of the Yucca Mountain review in FY2012 – which heretofore has found the site to be safe and viable -- is strongly warranted.

We hope that these views will be helpful in your consideration of the FY2012 Energy and Water Development Appropriations.

Please note that – while these views represent the consensus viewpoints of the undersigned organization – they do not necessarily represent the specific views of every individual member of these organizations.


Clinton E. Crackel, Co-Chairman
Nuclear Fuels Reprocessing Coalition