The federal government should act now to meet its statutory and contractual obligations under the Nuclear Waste Policy Act to promptly remove used nuclear fuel from existing and decommissioned reactor sites in our states. Electric consumers have paid in excess of $40 billion (including interest) into the Nuclear Waste Fund. Consumers have dutifully met their legal obligation over the last 30 years, but the federal government has not. In the 2016 appropriations process, Congress has an opportunity to fund:
- Yucca Mountain License Application Completion. The NRC’s independent review of Yucca Mountain as a geologic disposal facility is well advanced. In response to the Court’s 2013 mandamus, the NRC completed and released the Safety Evaluation Report in January 2015 and found that Yucca Mountain meets the NRC safety requirements as a permanent repository. Therefore, Congress should fund the completion of the license application review and continue its aggressive oversight by directing DOE to support the license application.
- Consolidated Storage with Priority for Shutdown Reactor Fuel. Congress and the Administration should facilitate consolidated storage as a way for the federal government to begin meeting its obligations, particularly removal of used fuel stranded at sites without an operating reactor.
- Other Key Elements. Direct DOE to prepare the nation’s transportation infrastructure to support consolidated storage and a repository program; certify a rail car(s) for use with licensed and anticipated transportation casks; and engage potential host communities.
In addition to these appropriations-related issues, we continue to support funding and governance reform for the nuclear waste program. Your leadership is needed to advance these critical elements of a working nuclear waste program. We welcome the opportunity for further discussion and stand ready to work with you.