June 2014 Nuclear Legislative Working Group (NLWG) Meeting in Santa Fe, NM

Claire Lewis 7/1/2014

New Mexico Capitol building from the outside entranceThe meeting offered an opportunity to learn about the cleanup of cold war weapons sites, hear updates on current nuclear energy and waste management policy issues, meet with officials from the Department of Energy and other federal agencies, network with state, federal and tribal colleagues, and tour the Los Alamos National Laboratory. Meeting participants also had the chance to join an optional tour of the Santa Clara Pueblo’s Puye Cliff Dwellings on Monday, June 2. 

Please click on the links for more information on NCSL's Nuclear Legislative Working Group (NLWG) and past meetings, our recent blog post, and for pictures from the Los Alamos National Lab Tour (coming soon!).

Monday, June 2, 2014

Cliff Dwellings Tour 

NCSL wishes to gratefully acknowledges Santa Clara Pueblo for their hospitality and exclusive private tour of the Puye cliff dwellings.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Tour of Los Alamos National Laboratory

The tour included visits to Ashley Pond, TA-21, LA weir, TA-54 Area G, and historical sites.  


NCSL wishes to gratefully acknowledge the hospitality of the Los Alamos National Lab and its staff for the tour of the Lab, as well as members and leaders of the San Ildefonso Tribe for their invaluable addition on the tour.

Reception with Los Alamos Field Office Manager

  • Kim Davis Lebak, Los Alamos Field Office Manager
Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Welcome and Introductions

  • Delegate Sally Jameson, Maryland (Chair)
  • Representative John Ragan, Tennessee (Vice Chair)
  • Scott Hendrick, NCSL

NLWG Member Updates

Legislators shared updates with the group on recent legislative activity and other developments relating to the cleanup of DOE Environmental Management sites, radioactive waste cleanup and nuclear energy. 

DOE's Office of Environmental Management: Budget and Programs

As the largest environmental cleanup program in the world, DOE's Office of Envrionmental Management has been charged with the responsibility of cleaning up 107 sites across the country whose total area is equal to the combined area of Rhode Island and Delaware. This session focused on EM's current and proposed budgets and how Congressional appropriations and recent leadership changes at EM may impact cleanup schedules at sites around the country.

  • Dennis Diezel, DOE-EM   (Presentation)

Nuclear Energy and Environmental Management R&D at Los Alamos National Laboratory

The Los Alamos National Laboratory science initiatives are a focal point for nuclear energy and waste management research. This session focused on the lab's efforts to develop the next generation of nuclear materials and innovative approaches to nuclear material management.

  • Dr. Paul Dixon, Los Alamos National Laboratory (Presentation)

Brief Introduction to STGWG and FFTF

This NLWG meeting was held in conjunction with the State and Tribal Government Working Group (STGWG) and the National Governors Association's Federal Facilities Task Force. Representatives from STGWG and FFTF provided a brief overview of the mission and membership of these groups.

  • Andrew Kambour,  National Governors Association (Handout)
  • Scott Hendrick, NCSL

Regulating Spent Nuclear Fuel

The US Nuclear Regulatory Commission regulates the storage and shipment of spent nuclear fuel. This session provided an overview of recent NRC activities and initiatives related to the storage of spent nuclear fuel at operating and decommissioned power plants, the role of NRC in shipping fuel to interim storage sites or a permanent repository, and an update on the Yucca Mountain licensing process.

  • Dave Pstrak, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission   (Presentation)
Joint Sessions with the State and Tribal Government Working Group (STGWG) and with NGA's Federal Facility Task Force


Presentation Speaker: Patricia Sandoval, Director of Planning and Evaluation, Santa Fe Indian School   (Presentation)

Emergency Preparedness and Planning: Los Alamos Case Study  (Joint Presentation)

  • Kevin Leifheit, Security and Emergency Operations Division Leader, LANL
  • Bill Gentile, Safeguards and Security Emergency Program Manager, LANL Field Office

Update of DOE's Environmental Management Program and the Waste Isolation Pilot Plan (WIPP)

  • Frank Marcinowski, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Waste Management, DOE-EM   (Presentation)

Impact of the WIPP Closure on Other Sites

  • Frank Marcinowski, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Waste Management, DOE-EM   (Presentation)
Wrap Up Discussion and Next Steps
Thursday, June 5, 2014

DOE's Office of Nuclear Energy (NE)

The Office of Nuclear Energy's (NE) primary mission is to advance nuclear power as a resource capable of making major contributions in meeting the nation's energy supply, environmental, and energy security needs. Representatives from the Office of Nuclear Energy provided legislators an update on NE's current programs and policies.

  • Liz Ramsay, Chief of Staff, DOE Office of Nuclear Energy   (Presentation)
  • Matt Crozat, Program Analyst, DOE Office of Nuclear Energy (Presentation)

The Future of Nuclear Energy

Today, 100 large commercial nuclear reactors in 31 states generate approximately 20 percent of the nation's energy and contribute 60 percent of the nation's carbon-free electricity.  But a combination of economic factors - including low natural gas prices, energy policies and market rules - are placing the future of the nation's nuclear plants in jeopardy. This session explored the economic challenges facing the industry and potential policy responses.

  • Commissioner David Wright, Nuclear Matters, South Carolina PUC   (Presentation)

Strategic Planning Session

  • Delegate Sally Jameson, Maryland (Chair)
  • Representative John Ragan, Tennessee (Vice Chair)
  • Scott Hendrick, NCSL