NCSL Winter Meeting of the Nuclear Legislative Workgroup

Row houses in New Orleans with iron railingsThe meeting brought together legislators, tribal leaders and other stakeholders from across the country who play a role in the clean-up of the nation's nuclear sites, host nuclear facilities or are affected by the transportation of nuclear materials. Participants had the opportunity to learn about important nuclear waste management issues, gather updates from the U.S. Department of Energy and share information with one another.

Dec. 12-14, 2012
Astor Crowne Plaza Hotel
New Orleans, La.
Intergovernmental Meeting with the United States Department of Energy

Day 1| Day 2 | Day 3

Dec. 12, 2012

8:30 - 9:15 a.m.

Welcome and Introductions

  • Delegate Sally Jameson, Maryland (Chair)
  • Scott Hendrick, NCSL
  • Brandt Petrasek, DOE-EM
  • Elizabeth Schmitt, DOE-EM

9:15 - 10 a.m.

Update from the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission

Earl Easton from U.S. NRC discussed recent decisions regarding operations and waste storage at U.S. nuclear power plants.


10:15 - 10:45 a.m.

Environmental Management Outreach Efforts
Paul Seidler, Director of External Affairs for DOE-EM, presented on the new public engagement programs offered by DOE’s Office of Environmental Management.

10:45 - 11:45 a.m.

Focus on the Sites:

The Nuclear Legislative Working Group (NLWG) heard updates from several DOE Environmental Management (DOE-EM) sites, including:

  • Bryan Bower, West Valley Demonstration Project
  • Matt McCormick and Stacy Charbonneau, Hanford
  • Scott Wade,  Nevada Test Site
  • Jim Cooper, Idaho National Laboratory
  • George Rael, Los Alamos National Laboratory
  • David Moody, Savannah River Site, and
  • William Murphie, Portsmouth and Paducah Projects.
During this time, David Huizenga, DOE’s senior adviser for Environmental Management, also met with the Nuclear Legislative Working Group (NLWG) and updated them on projects.

Lunch and Break

1:15 - 1:45 p.m.

Transportation of Radioactive Waste

Stephen O’Connor from DOE’s Office of Packaging and Transportation discussed recent and expected shipments of defense-generated radioactive wastes through the states on a phone call into the meeting.

1:45 - 2:15 p.m.

Update from DOE’s Offices of Nuclear Energy
Liz Ramsay from DOE’s Office of Nuclear Energy discussed developments in nuclear research and technology. 

2:15 - 3 p.m.

Strategic Planning Session

Delegate Sally Y. Jameson, chair, and Scott Hendrick, NCSL, hosted a strategic planning session.


3:15 - 5:30 p.m.

Roundtable on High-Level Waste

The Energy Communities Alliance (ECA) and the Environmental Council of the States (ECOS) hosted a round-table discussion on high-level waste.

5:30 p.m.


The Astor Crown Plaza hosted a reception for the Intergovernmental Meeting.
Dec. 13, 2012


Introductions and Invocation

Introduction and Welcome:
  • Andrew Kambour, NGA and Brandt Petrasek, DOE-EM
  • Tribal Invocation

8:45 - 9 a.m.

Presentation of Intergovernmental Group Priorities

  • Matthew Jones, ECOS

9 - 10:45 a.m.

Update on the DOE Environmental Management Program
David Huizenga, Senior Advisor for Environmental Management, U.S. Department of Energy

  • Introduction of speaker: Mayor Tom Beehan, City of Oak Ridge
  • Q&A Moderator: Brian Hembacher, California Office of the Attorney General


11 - 11:45 a.m.

Roundtable Discussion: Working Together to Address Budget Shortfalls

During this session, members of each of the groups, plus DOE, participated in a conversation highlighting successful examples of collaboration among state, tribal, local and federal officials to ensure that cleanup is conducted in a safe and compliant fashion even in the face of decreasing cleanup budgets at individual sites. Participants discussed with each other and with the audience how different strategies have worked (or not worked) at different sites, where opportunities exist for improving coordination and how others might learn from these examples.

  •  Moderator: Councilmember Robert Thompson, Richland, Wash.
  • Gabe Bohnee, Nez Perce Tribe
  • Jose Franco, manager, DOE Carlsbad Field Office
  • Bill Murphie, manager, Portsmouth-Paducah Project Office
  • Steven Stout, Tennessee


Presentation and Discussion: The EM Budget

Presentation Speaker: Terry Tyborowski, deputy assistant secretary for Program Planning and Budget, DOE-EM
  • Discussion Leader: Ken Niles, Oregon
Additional Discussants:
  • David Moody, manager, DOE Savannah River Site (to be confirmed)
  • Rick McLeod, SRS Community Reuse Organization
Discussion Topics:
  • How EM makes site-specific budget decisions
  • Assessing life-cycle cost impacts of specific budget decisions
  • Out-year budget planning

2  - 3:15 p.m.

Presentation and Discussion: Groundwater Cleanup across the Complex

Presentation Speaker: Mark Gilbertson, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Site Restoration, DOE-EM
  • Discussion Leader:  Pam Larsen, Hanford Communities
  • Matt McCormick, manager, DOE Richland Field Office
  • Roger Petrie, Tennessee

3:30 - 4:30 p.m.

Wrap-up and Instructions for Next Day

Paula Cotter, NAAG and Kristen Ellis, DOE-EM

Dec. 14, 2012

8:30 - 9:15 a.m.

Welcome to Day Two
  • Brooke Oleen, NCSL and David Borak, DOE-EM

9:15 - 10:15 a.m.

The Intersection of EM and NNSA

  • Neile Miller, principal deputy administrator, National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA)
Introduction of Speaker: Leo Drozdoff, director, Nevada Department of Conservation & Natural Resources


10:30  - 11:30 a.m.

Presentation and Discussion: Waste Management
  • Presentation Speaker: Frank Marcinowski, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Waste Management, DOE-EM
  • Discussion Leader: Mark Watson, Oak Ridge City Manager
Additional Discussants:
  • Sue Cange, Deputy Assistant Manager for Environmental Management, DOE Oak Ridge Office
  • George Rael, Assistant Manager for National Security Missions, NNSA/DOE Los  Alamos Site Office
  • Scott Wade, Assistant Manager for Environmental Management, Nevada Nuclear Security Site
Discussion Topics:
  • Relationship between disposition of waste and other nuclear materials present at sites, including assessing risks and optimizing the management of both waste and nuclear materials.
  • Long-term plans for waste operations at WIPP, NNSS, and commercial sites
  • Growth in on-site disposal sites.

11:30 a.m. - Noon

Roundtable Discussion: Intergovernmental Collaboration around High-Level Waste

This session allowed each of the intergovernmental groups and DOE to have an open discussion regarding a path forward for high-level radioactive waste and how it affects states, tribes, and local governments across the entire complex. Topics covered in the conversation included: coordination among levels of government around HLW treatment, storage, and disposal decisions; transportation; and the commingling of defense waste and commercial spent fuel. 

  • Discussion Leader: Andy Fitz, Washington State Office of the Attorney General
Additional Discussants:
  • Stacy Charboneau, Deputy Manager, DOE Office of River Protection
  • Roxanne Lara, Commissioner, Eddy County (NM)
  • Willie Preacher, Shoshone-Bannock Tribes
  • Shelly Wilson, South Carolina
  • Delegate Sally Y. Jameson, Maryland


Wrap-up / Plenary Session Adjourns

  • Andrew Kambour, NGA and Allison Doman, ECA

To view PDF files, please click on the link to install Adobe Acrobat Reader.

NCSL Contacts:

The Department of Energy brought two software applications for demonstration to this meeting: the EM Srategic Planning Communication Tool and the Itellus Public Environmental Database. The EM Strategic Planning Communication Tool has been developed using state-of-the-art data visualization technology to discover and communicate trends, outliers and impacts of a complex array of EM program alternatives. It is a simulation tool designed to illustrate the imapcts of tough choices that will have to be made and to engage stakeholders in a more comprehensive and constructive fashion. Intellus is a publicly accessible, cloud-based, environmental database developed by LANL. Intellus has mapping, charting, and reporting capabilities.

Both of these softwares were available for demonstration and had DOE officials available for questions about their capabilities on Wednesday and Thursday of the meeting.