Nuclear Waste Strategy Coalition Announces New Chair & Vice Chair

Minnesota Public Utilities Commission Chair Katie Sieben and North Carolina Utilities Commissioner Kimberly Duffley Elected to Lead Member Organization

March 4, 2021 – The Nuclear Waste Strategy Coalition (NWSC or Coalition)[i] announces the election of Minnesota Public Utilities Commission Chair Katie Sieben as its new chair and North Carolina Utilities Commissioner Kimberly Duffley as its new vice chair, joining other key members of the executive team in steering the organization and leading its call for action on behalf of its diverse membership.  Sieben succeeds Vermont Public Utility Commissioner Sarah Hofmann, who served as NWSC Chair from August 2015 through February 2021 and plans to retire upon the Governor’s appointment of her successor. 

As an experienced policymaker and regulator, Chair Sieben brings a keen understanding of the widespread impacts of the federal government’s failure to remove used nuclear fuel from utility sites in Minnesota and beyond.

“I look forward to leading the Coalition’s efforts to create a sense of urgency at the federal level by sharing Minnesota’s story and partnering with other states, tribal nations and local governments to call for action,” said Chair Sieben.  “As the Administration and Congress respectively develop budgets and make appropriations for Fiscal Year 2022, the NWSC will advocate for sustainable, annual access to the ratepayer-funded Nuclear Waste Fund and the reestablishment of a national, integrated nuclear waste management program.” 

Fellow Coalition members from Minnesota commented on Chair Sieben’s latest leadership role.  

Prairie Island Indian Community Tribal Council President Shelley Buck stated, “We’re confident that Chair Sieben will highlight challenges faced by our Tribal government and members, who live less than 700 yards from used nuclear fuel that the government is indefinitely storing, instead of removing.  Our Tribe never consented to this indefinite storage.”  President Buck added, “We applaud Chair Sieben’s work with the Coalition to bring Prairie Island and Minnesota’s unique challenges, as well as those faced in other states and communities, into the forefront.”

Added Xcel Energy’s Minnesota President Chris Clark, “As a Minnesota legislator before joining the Commission, Chair Sieben understands the importance of building consensus to solve key challenges.  The Coalition will benefit from her approach as it seeks to break the stalemate on used nuclear fuel storage and disposal and push Congress and the Administration to take meaningful action.”    

In her new role as vice chair, North Carolina Utilities Commissioner Kim Duffley will draw on her considerable legal and policy experience in North Carolina government.  Having followed nuclear waste-related issues while on the NCUC staff and as a Commissioner, she feels strongly about protecting electric customers.

“The federal government’s de facto national policy of inaction strands 80,000 metric tons of commercial used nuclear fuel and other high-level radioactive waste at sites in 34 states, including North Carolina.  Our state’s electric customers paid into the Nuclear Waste Fund more than $1 billion (which already has accumulated over $1 billion in interest) to enable federal government removal and disposal, but over 4,300 metric tons remain in our state,” said Commissioner Duffley.  “I’m honored to be part of the Coalition’s leadership and to join other states and communities in pushing for federal government resolution that includes providing sustainable access to the $43 billion balance in the Nuclear Waste Fund for its intended purpose.”

NWSC Chair Sieben recognized the accomplishments of both Chair Emeritus Sarah Hofmann and Florida Public Service Commissioner Emeritus Julie Imanuel Brown, who recently stepped down from NWSC leadership following her appointment as Florida’s Secretary of the Department of Business and Professional Regulation. 

“By any measure, Commissioner Hofmann’s contributions as NWSC Chair are numerous and significant, including increased coordination with collaborating organizations, such as NARUC and NEI,” said Chair Sieben.  “Commissioner Hofmann’s passion about these issues has endured over her stellar career, including roles as a consumer advocate, a director of a New England association of state utility commissioners, and a Vermont utility regulator, and the NWSC is so grateful for her leadership.” 

Chair Sieben continued, “Secretary Brown’s contributions as a Florida Commissioner and NWSC’s Membership Officer were also significant; she helped raise the profile of the NWSC and recruited several new members.” 

Chair Sieben’s first official act as NWSC Chair will be to send an introductory letter to DOE’s Secretary Granholm that includes suggestions on how to advance the NWSC’s goals.

* * * * *

[i] The Nuclear Waste Strategy Coalition is an ad hoc organization representing the collective interests of member state utility regulators, consumer advocates, attorneys general, and radiation control officials; tribal governments; local governments; electric utilities with operating and/or shutdown nuclear reactors; and other experts on nuclear waste policy matters.  For over two decades, we have called for the Department of Energy to remove and ultimately dispose of commercial nuclear waste in accordance with federal law and contracts with electric utilities.

Speak Your Mind