1986 ban on NH nuke waste burial was repealed in 2011 (December 2015)

It’s unclear who took the action or why it was taken

Rep. Renny Cushing was writing 2016 legislation that would charge Seabrook Station $500,000 annually to store high-level radioactive waste onsite when the longtime anti-nuclear activist stumbled across a stunning discovery.

The law that was passed 30 years ago prohibiting an underground radioactive waste dump in New Hampshire had been quietly repealed as part of the 2011 state budget bill.

It was repealed so quietly that it never made the news, unlike the thousands of headlines generated by the 1986 protests that prompted its passage.

“I found out about it almost by accident,” said Cushing, a Hampton Democrat.

Cushing co-founded the anti-nuclear group Clamshell Alliance in 1976 to fight the construction of the nuclear power plant in Seabrook.

“There were town meeting votes taken all over the state in 1986 that were opposed to the siting of a high-level radioactive waste dump here,” Cushing said.

Voters in 100 towns approved a non-binding warrant article that year that opposed “the burial, storage, transportation and production of high-level nuclear waste in New Hampshire.”

“The Legislature got up in arms and decided to be proactive about it” and passed New Hampshire’s High-Level Radioactive Waste Act – the one repealed in 2011, Cushing said.

Cushing quickly rewrote his proposed 2016 legislation, which would charge a fee for storing nuclear waste onsite, so it will now include reactivating the 1986 law banning burial of radioactive nuclear waste.

Cushing had asked the Office of Legislative Services to borrow some definitions from the original language from 1986 after he was notified it had been repealed.

Industry conundrum

When the U.S. Department of Energy listed New Hampshire in 1985 as one of a dozen eastern states under consideration for an underground nuclear waste repository, the protests were loud and many.

The DOE was exploring New Hampshire’s granite, especially in Hillsborough and the surrounding area, for a second repository. Yucca Mountain in Nevada was to be the first such repository and is still the DOE choice, but the project was never funded.

“There were no public hearings on this repeal,” Cushing said. “So New Hampshire has become the first state that’s rescinded its opposition to having a nuclear waste site here.”


NH Rep. Renny Cushing, D-Hampton, is filing legislation to reactivate a repealed law that prohibited burying radioactive nuclear waste in the state.

By Nancy West/InDepthNH.org, Published: December 10, 2015 at http://www.nhbr.com/December-25-2015/1986-ban-on-NH-nuke-waste-burial-was-repealed-in-2011/

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