To reform and adequately fund the U.S. civilian high-level nuclear waste transportation, storage, and disposal program in a manner that ensures timely and safe waste removal from operating and decommissioned nuclear power plants and that protects ratepayers’ substantial investment in the program.
The Coalition’s overarching goals are the timely, safe, and cost-effective storage and disposal of spent nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste in a permanent repository and reform the distribution of the Nuclear Waste Fund such that ratepayer contributions are used for their intended purpose. Given the importance of nuclear energy to the U.S. economy and emission-free energy, these goals are increasingly critical. Specifically, the NWSC seeks to:
- Release ratepayer's money for intended purpose and protect consumers from future liability
To ensure an adequate and reliable funding source from the Nuclear Waste Fund (NWF) for the Department of Energy (DOE) to defend the license application submitted in June 2008 to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) and sufficient funds to the NRC to review the license application in 3-4 years as directed in the Nuclear Waste Policy Act (NWPA) of 1982. All past and future funds collected from ratepayers and paid by utilities into the NWF should be redefined as offsetting collections spending, not subject to discretionary caps. Additionally, given that a large percentage of ratepayer payments are not used for their intended purpose, NWF payments should be capped at the present one-tenth of a cent per kilowatt-hour. Finally, DOE’s swift action to remove nuclear waste from nuclear plant sites would best protect taxpayers from the mounting liabilities associated with its non-performance.
- Establish a permanent disposal facility
Spent nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste from nuclear power plants and defense facilities cannot be stored at existing sites indefinitely and may not be candidates for reprocessing; thus, a permanent disposal facility is necessary. Congresas has designated Yucca Mountain as the country’s repository site, following procedures spelled out in the NWPA
Begin waste removal now
The Federal government must initiate removal of spent nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste currently stranded at commercial and decommissioned nuclear power plants at 121 sites in 39 states. Timely waste removal encompasses:
Centralized Interim Storage
Centralized interim storage facilities are a safe and cost-effective option for managing spent nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste from decommissioned power plants and other facilities and should be authorized and funded for the near-term while a permanent facility is being licensed and constructed.
The Federal government should facilitate the construction and operation of infrastructure and systems necessary to transport civilian spent nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive material by the private sector (as required in the NWPA) in existing and future NRC-licensed canisters to interim storage facilities and to the Yucca Mountain site for permanent disposal.