Letter to Blue Ribbon Commission on America's Nuclear Future 

August 13, 2010

 

The Honorable Lee Hamilton, Co-Clair
c/o Timothy A. Frazier, Designated Federal Officer
Blue Ribbon Commission on America's Nuclear Future
U.S. Department of Energy
1000 Independence Avenue SW
Washington, DC 20585-1290

 

Honorable Brent Scowcroft, Co-Chair
c/o Timothy A. Frazier, Designated Federal Officer
Blue Ribbon Commission on America's Nuclear Future
U.S. Department of Energy
1000 Independence Avenue SW
Washington, DC 20585-1290

 

Dear Chairman Hamilton and Chairman Scowcroft:

On behalf of the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), I would like to thank you for the opportunity to testify before the Blue Ribbon Commission on May 25, 2010. I was glad to have the chance to share information with you and the other members of tile Blue Ribbon Commission about NCSL's work on nuclear energy issues facing the nation including waste disposition and storage and the future of new reactors.

We appreciate the work or the Blue Ribbon Commission and are encouraged by the thoughtful process you are undertaking. As you consider final recommendations we believe it is imperative that the federal government and industry work to develop one or more centralized interim used fuel storage facilities, using the following principles:

  • State and local governments should have a role in site selection and licensing.
  • The facility should be an NRC licensed facility.
  • Decommissioned plant fuel should be moved first to this facility.
  • The Nuclear Waste Fund should be used to support the facility through:
    • State and Community financial incentives.
    • Licensing and construction financing.

Legislation should be enacted instructing the federal government to lease space at the facility for interim storage of commercial used fuel and federal used fuel and high-level radioactive waste.

Moving ahead in this fashion will have the following benefits:

  • Enable the federal government to, at least partially, fulfill its commitment to remove used nuclear fuel from commercial nuclear power plant sites.
  • Enable the federal government to eliminate costly settlement payments due to its failure to meet its NWPA obligations.
  • Allow decommissioned plant sites to be used for other beneficial purposes.
  • Demonstrate that a pathway to eventual disposition of used nuclear fuel is being developed.
  • Demonstrate routine safe transportation and central storage of used nuclear fuel to the public and policymakers.
  • Create a "breather" while public policy regarding used nuclear fuel recycling and ultimate disposal are resolved.
  • Provide a facility for studies, research and development in support of long-term storage of used fuel.
  • For nuclear power plants that have not implemented dry storage, this facility would avoid such a need.
  • For nuclear power plants that have implemented dry storage, this facility would help with the expansion of such storage.
  • An interim storage facility could be built within 7-10 years and fuel moved accordingly.

As the bi-partisan organization representing the 50 state legislatures and the legislatures of our nation's commonwealths, territories and the District of Columbia, NCSL stands ready to assist the BRC and is excited for additional opportunities to engage with the Commission. As you know, NCSL has adopted two policies relating to the issues being explored by the BRC and we have a working group comprised of state legislators from around the country who would be a good resource for the Commission.

Please contact Linda Sikkema, Director of the NCSL Energy, Environment and Transportation program (linda.sikkema@ncsl.org;303-364-7700) or Melissa Savage, Program Director, Energy Environment and Transportation program (Melissa.savage@ncsl.org;303-364-7700) if you have any questions or need more information.

Sincerely,

 

Delegate Sally Y. Jameson
Member, Maryland House of Delegates
Immediate Past Chair, NCSL Agriculture and Energy Committee