NCSL Agriculture and Energy Committee Letter to Members of Congress on Nuclear Energy

February 1, 2011

Dear Representative,

We are writing on behalf of the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) to express the conference’s strong support of a comprehensive national energy policy that includes nuclear energy. NCSLhas a long history of involvement in nuclear energy issues. We understand that for nuclear energy to serve as an integral part of a national energy plan, certain issues including transportation, storage and disposal of used nuclear fuel, need to be addressed.

NCSL has official policy statements that support interim storage and also permanent geologic storage of nuclear waste. The NCSL policy process requires a 75 percent super majority in order for a policy resolution to pass ensuring that policies adopted by the conference are supported by three fourths of the states and are truly bipartisan.

As you may know, NCSL testified before the Department of Energy’s Blue Ribbon Commission (BRC) on America’s Nuclear Future. A copy of that testimony and supporting documents are attached. NCSL appreciates the work and efforts of the BRC. The thoughtful and engaging process the BRC has undertaken emphasizes the importance of nuclear energy in the overall national energy picture. As the BRC works over the next few months to develop its report to the Secretary of Energy, NCSL stands ready to serve as a key partner in this process and following the release of the report.

We anticipate that the BRC will address the need for the federal government to develop a plan for the longterm treatment and disposal of commercial high-level radioactive waste. Further, NCSL believes it is important for the commission to recognize the importance of identifying private interim storage facilities, licensed by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to store used nuclear fuel. NCSL supports the availability of financing mechanisms and incentives, through the Nuclear Waste Fund, to help interim storage in voluntary host communities.

While interim storage is an important step in the right direction, NCSL believes that the BRC should include a plan for identifying a permanent repository. If the United States is to move forward with a comprehensive national energy plan including nuclear, it is critical that we begin the process of identifying a permanent storage site. NCSL urges Congress to move quickly to consider the recommendations and information that will be contained in the report from the BRC.

If you have questions about these comments, or for further discussion, please do not hesitate to call on Max Behlke (202-624-3586 or in our Washington, DC office.


Representative Thomas Holbrook, Illinois Co-chair, NCSL Agriculture and Energy Standing Committee

Representative Terry England, Georgia Co-chair, NCSL Agriculture and Energy Standing Committee


PDF version of the letter to Congress

NCSL Testimony to the Blue Ribbon Commission

Highlights of Tesimony to the Blue Ribbon Commission