Door cracks open to U.S. nuclear waste storage in Great Lakes basin (January 2016)

Wisconsin lawmakers are cracking open the door to more nuclear plants and the possibility of a nuclear waste storage facility in the Great Lakes watershed.

On Tuesday, Jan. 13, the Wisconsin Assembly approved a bill that would lift a moratorium on nuclear power plants in a move that bill sponsors say would help the state meet new federal greenhouse gas emission limits.

Assembly Bill 384 must yet be approved by the Republican-controlled Wisconsin state senate and signed by the governor. It was approved by a voice vote in the assembly.

Wisconsin is currently home to only one nuclear plant, the Point Beach station on Lake Michigan near Two Rivers. A 1984 ban prohibits the state from approving another one unless a federal nuclear waste depository exists somewhere in the U.S. and the plant wouldn’t burden ratepayers.

No centralized federal repository exists despite attempts by the U.S. Department of Energy to build one. In 2011, President Barack Obama ordered the U.S. Department of Energy to withdraw a construction license for a depository at Yucca Mountain in Nevada. Nuclear plants currently store waste on-site.

Opponents of the new bill say it encourages the federal government to reconsider a granite bedrock mass northwest of Green Bay called the Wolf River Batholith as a permanent geologic repository for spent radioactive fuel from reactors.

The area was ranked high on the government’s list of potential sites in the 1980s. The 1,094-square-mile rock formation under the Wolf River extends through several Wisconsin counties and Native American tribal land. The granite mass could extend 10 to 20 miles deep, say geologists.

Read full story

As written by Garret Ellison | and posted on January 13, 2016 at 11:45 AM, updated January 13, 2016 at 11:58 AM on MLive at

%d bloggers like this: