Senators Introduce Bipartisan, Comprehensive Nuclear Waste Legislation

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Four senior U.S. senators on Thursday, introduced a bipartisan, comprehensive plan for safeguarding and permanently disposing of tens of thousands of tons of dangerous radioactive nuclear waste currently accumulating at sites dispersed across the country.

Senators Dianne Feinstein, D-Ca., and Lamar Alexander, R-Tn. – the leaders of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development – and Energy and Natural Resources Committee Chairman Ron Wyden, D-Or., and Ranking Member Lisa Murkowski, R-Al., collaborated on the proposal, the Nuclear Waste Administration Act of 2013 (S. 1240).

“Stalemate can’t solve our nation’s nuclear waste issues. This bill takes immediate steps to more safely store the most dangerous radioactive waste, and lays out a clear plan for a permanent solution,” Senator Wyden said. “Senators Murkowski, Feinstein and Alexander deserve enormous credit for the work and creativity that made this bipartisan bill possible.”

“I’m pleased to have worked with Sens. Wyden, Feinstein, and Alexander to include language that gets us back on a path to addressing the back end of the nuclear fuel cycle,” Senator Murkowski said. “By moving forward on interim storage and a permanent repository through parallel tracks, the federal government can send a strong signal to utilities, rate payers, and the American public that we will meet our obligations on used nuclear fuel.”

“This bipartisan bill—years in the making—will finally begin to address the dangerous, expensive absence of a comprehensive nuclear waste policy,” Senator Feinstein said. “In addition to creating an independent Nuclear Waste Administration to manage nuclear waste, the bill authorizes the construction of interim storage facilities and permanent waste repositories, sited through a consent-based process and funded by fees currently collected from nuclear power ratepayers. The inability of the federal government to collect waste stored across the country at functioning power plants, decommissioned reactors and federal facilities is costing taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars a year. It’s time to finally put a policy in place to address this problem.”

“After 25 years of stalemate, this legislation puts us back on the road to finding safe places to dispose of used nuclear fuel,” Senator Alexander said. “It does this in the obvious way: by making local, state and federal governments equal partners in the process of finding temporary and permanent storage for nuclear waste. This is important because nuclear power provides 60 percent of our reliable, air-pollution-free electricity.”

Currently there is no central repository for spent nuclear fuel, leaving fuel rods to be stored on-site at dozens of commercial nuclear facilities around the country, including areas that are at risk of earthquakes, floods and other natural disasters. Millions of gallons of high-level radioactive waste from the nation’s nuclear weapons programs are also being stored at Department of Energy sites around the country. The 2011 Fukushima disaster, combined with recent announcements of new radioactive waste leaks at the Hanford Site in Washington State add to the urgency of securing spent fuel and finding permanent repository for the nation’s nuclear waste.

The bill updates an April draft, after the Energy committee received more than 2,500 public comments on the measure. It includes establishment of a new nuclear waste administration and creates a consent-based process for siting nuclear waste facilities. It also enables the federal government to address its commitment to managing commercial nuclear waste, limiting the costly liability the government bears for its failure to dispose of commercial spent fuel. The integrated storage and repository system established by this legislation will expand opportunities for nuclear power to supply low-carbon energy, and will provide long-term protection of public health and safety for both commercial and defense high-level waste. 

The Energy and Natural Resources Committee is planning a hearing on the bill in July. The date and witnesses will be announced when they are confirmed.


Latest Hamilton County Jail Booking Report - And Mug Shots

Here is the latest jail booking report from Hamilton County: BAKER, PHILLIP SCOTT AIRPORT INN LEE HIGHWAY RM 128 CHATTANOOGA, 37421 36 Hamilton County DRUGS GENERAL CATEGORY FOR RESALE (METH) LIGHT LAW VIOLATION FORGERY POSSESSION OF DRUG PARAPHERNALIA FINANCIAL RESPONSIBILITY CONTRABAND IN PENAL INSTITUTIONS REGISTRATION, UNLAWFUL REMOVAL OF DECAL OR ... (click for more)

Police Blotter: Vandals Hit Vehicle Testing Center

Vandals hit the vehicle testing center on Riverfront Parkway, spraying a wall with blue paint. It read CORE 1...FAM. Envirotest officials said the cleanup cost $100. * * * A firearm was left in a rental car, according to officials of Enterprise on W. 20th Street. Police said the Rossi M88 .38-caliber chrome revolver belongs to Jenks Parker. Also left in the car ... (click for more)

Chattanooga State Faculty Has No Business Being Involved In Hiring Decisions

This letter will hopefully bring some clarity to the recent situation created by the faculty of Chattanooga State Community College. It is based upon my tenure as a member of the faculty at Chattanooga State Technical Institute, the transformation to Chattanooga State Community College, and my service as the financial and administrative officer at Chattanooga State until my retirement ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: A Grand Thanksgiving Feast

I’m not really sure how it all came about but a few days before Thanksgiving last year, what was usually a crowded table had dwindled down to just Mother, Aunt Martha and me. Just the idea of getting dressed up made both of them tired, which happens when you are 89 and 87, respectively, and the thought of preparing the traditional feast brought only further groans so I announced ... (click for more)

Maston, Cameron Power Tyner Past Hixson, 69-60

When Darren Maston transferred from Ooltewah to Tyner prior to last season, he was a role player on a team that had eight talented, experienced seniors. Now, Maston is being asked to fill an expanded role as a scorer and leader. He did both rather well Tuesday night as Tyner opened the 2014-15 season with a 69-60 District 6-AA victory over Hixson on the Wildcats’ floor. ... (click for more)

Unbeaten Soddy Daisy Rolls Past Rhea County

The Soddy Daisy Trojans remained unbeaten after four games in basketball, including Tuesday night's 70-31 romp over the visiting Rhea County Golden Eagles, but please keep in mind that Rhea County is still playing football and at least seven regulars on the basketball court are still trying to win a state title on the gridiron. Preston Pugh scored on a layup with 6:39 to play ... (click for more)