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  • Meagan Dorsch
    Director of public affairs
  • Jon Kuhl
    Public affairs specialist
    Washington, D.C.
Feb. 17, 2012

Proposed Nuclear Waste Strategy Calls for Greater State, Local Input

The National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) applauds a new federal report by the Blue Ribbon Commission on America’s Nuclear Future that recommends more state and local involvement in the transportation, storage and disposal of radioactive waste. The commission’s report mirrors the recommendation made to Congress last spring by NCSL’s Nuclear Legislative Workgroup. The report, sent to U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu, proposes that states, tribes and local governments be included in all storage and disposal decisions on nuclear waste and spent fuel.

“The Commission’s final report represents an important opportunity to find a permanent, safe and secure solution to America’s nuclear waste problem,” said Maryland Delegate Sally Y. Jameson. “There is an urgency to this issue.  I’m happy that the report recognizes the need for states, and state legislatures, to be at the negotiating table when deciding where to keep our nation’s radioactive waste.”

The report also incorporates other recommendations made by NCSL. It proposes the development of a facility where nuclear waste, which is currently stored in numerous power plants and federal facilities throughout the country, can be stored temporarily until a permanent underground disposal facility is built. It calls for Congress to use the Nuclear Waste Fund for its purpose and not to patch up holes in the federal budget.  And the report recognizes that state, tribal and local governments need federal support to continue the safe transportation of nuclear waste throughout the country.

Since the federal commission formed in January 2010, NCSL has encouraged it to recognize the critical role of states in managing the waste from the Cold War arms race and nuclear energy plants. NCSL has submitted letters to the commission and arranged for testimony by state legislators, including Delegate Jameson. Delegate Jameson is also the chair of NCSL’s Nuclear Legislative Workgroup, which is made up of roughly 75 state legislators and focused on nuclear energy and waste management issues.

For more information about the commission’s report or NCSL’s nuclear waste policies or activities, contact NCSL's public affairs division.

NCSL is a bipartisan organization that serves the legislators and staffs of the states, commonwealths and territories. It provides research, technical assistance and opportunities for policymakers to exchange ideas on the most pressing state issues and is an effective and respected advocate for the interests of the states in the American federal system.