In a proposed new rule, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission isn\u2019t giving up on long-term radioactive waste storage, but appears to be giving the government wiggle room. The plan gives the federal agency no definite end game for making nuclear waste less environmentally destructive. It apparently leaves spent fuel and other waste for utilities to store on-site. The federal agency\u2019s plan is a result of a U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit decision on June 8, 2012. That court ruled the commission had to consider environmental impacts of radioactive waste from extending operating licenses\u2014something that NRC had determined had no \u201csignificant\u201d impact. \u201cAlthough future repository availability remains an important consideration . . . it is no longer needed\u201d because the agency is not looking into the environmental impacts of \u201cindefinite storage,\u201d notes a July 21 commission proposal. California utilities already have some on-site dry cask storage. With the obvious lack of a federal repository since Yucca Mountain, Nevada, was declined in 2010 by the Department of Energy, this federal move ostensibly moves long-term waste storage to utilities\u2019 bailiwick. The two federal agencies both have authority over nuclear activities. The commission is set to manage it on a daily level with oversight for long-term health effects. The Energy Department has the task of providing a waste repository. \u201cUntil the DOE takes over\u201d its task to remove radioactive waste, said Southern California Edison spokesperson Maureen Brown, Edison\u2019s plan for San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station\u2019s spent fuel calls for dry storage on site. She added there\u2019s a \u201chealthy skepticism\u201d over the wherewithal of the Energy Agency to meet its repository target. Meanwhile, Edison plans to get the spent fuel at the site out of the fuel pools into dry storage by the end of 2019. Up the coast a bit at Pacific Gas & Electric\u2019s Diablo Canyon nuclear plant, PG&E spokesperson Blair Jones noted, \u201cThe interim storage methods we use at Diablo Canyon and Humboldt Bay are safe, effective, follow industry best practices and are monitored by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. While the capability to safely store fuel onsite is proven, the Department of Energy is by law still obligated to take ownership and transport the spent fuel off-site.\u201d \u201cLong-term fuel storage is the responsibility of the federal government\u2014not individual power plants\u2014and we continue to urge resolution in upholding that responsibility,\u201d he stated. Dry casks have been a move by utilities to store radioactive detritus in a temporary facility while the federal government finds a permanent place for it. Utilities are \u201cassuming the federal government will take\u201d the waste in the long-run, said Truman Burns, Office of Ratepayer Advocates program supervisor. He added that the long-run price of permanent storage on site is too \u201cspeculative\u201d to consider at this time. The court decision found the commission errant because it found the agency didn\u2019t \u201ccalculate\u201d environmental risks of spent fuel storage. The commission\u2019s plans only considered waste to be stored for 60 years. The court noted that plan \u201cfailed to properly examine future dangers and key consequences.\u201d The commission is gathering responses to its proposal.