Nuclear Waste Policy News
A collection of news items about nuclear waste policy relevant to state legislatures.
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Loan Program May Stir Nuclear Industry
State legislatures across the country have passed legislation endorsing the development of new nuclear power reactors, as the U.S. Department of Energy is expected to announce $18.5 billion in loan guarantees for new reactors. New York Times: Complete article
In recent years several states have made significant movements to permit the construction of new nuclear power plants. No less than 15 states considered legislation in 2009 related to the permitting, building, and or financing of new nuclear energy generation facilities. In particular, at least:
Seven states (Hawaii, Ill., Minn., Okla., Utah, Wash., and WVa.) considered legislation that would repeal nuclear generation plant construction bans, develop study committees to determine the need for new nuclear plants, and/or show general support for nuclear development. Illinois and Minnesota have carried over 2009 legislation to 2010 that would repeal the ban on new nuclear construction.
Five states (Ga., Mich., N.M., N.Y., and Vt.) considered legislation addressing the costs associated with the construction of nuclear plants and the financial burden placed on both utilities and ratepayers. Georgia enacted legislation that allows utilities to recover the cost of financing associated with the construction of nuclear power plants from consumers.
Six states (Alaska, Fla., Hawaii, Md., Minn., and Tenn.) considered legislation related to the permitting of new nuclear facilities or waste sites and evaluations that are to occur prior to licensing facilities. Maryland enacted legislation in 2009 outlining permit process for owning, establishing, or maintaining a low-level nuclear waste facility (MD H 1569).
Visit NCSL’s Environment and Energy Tracking Database to view the full text of state legislation introduced across the country endorsing nuclear power development.
Nuclear Site Finds Money Can Bring Headaches
The Department of Energy Environmental Management Program received $6 billion in funding through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). The Savannah River Site received $1.6 billion of the funding to accelerate the cleanup of cold war legacy waste. The Site produced 40% of the plutonium in the nation’s weapons stockpiles. However, the infusion of cleanup funds increases pressure and has raised questions about the oversight and operations of the Savannah River Site. Complete article
President Obama Commits to working with Japan on Nuclear Reprocessing
During President Obama’s trip to Japan he discussed a “Strengthened partnership on nuclear energy including on advanced fuel cycle technologies…” with Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama. Thus, the two leaders announced that they will collaborate on determining the best and most affordable ways to reprocess spent nuclear fuel. Please see article on The Wall Street Journal website. Japan is already committed to creating a domestic “closed” nuclear fuel cycle. More information on Japan’s Nuclear Fuel Cycle Program here.
Recovery Act Funding Helping to Clean Up Cold War Legacy
ARRA funding is being used to clean up Los Alamos, a 65-year old dump resulting from the building of the atomic bomb. Altogether the Department of Energy's Environmental Management Office received $6 billion in ARRA funds to clean up the legacy waste of the cold war era. Learn more about the Los Alamos Project here: Complete article
CDOD Delegation Discusses Nuclear Issues in Washington
Members of the Carlsbad Department of Development visited Washington, D.C. last week to promote Carlsbad's contributions to solving the nation's nuclear waste problem. NCSL's Environmental Management Roundtable and High-level Waste Working Group Chair, Representative John Heaton, NM was involved in the meeting. The group discussed10-years of success storing defense-related transuranic waste at Carlsbad's Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP). Carlsbad Department of Development also expressed interested in WIPP being considered as a potential site for future nuclear waste disposal. The visit came in response to the U.S. Department of Energy's announcement that a congressional blue-ribbon panel will be formed to determine the future of the country's nuclear waste policy. Complete article
Nuclear Waste Panel Announcement
The U.S. Department of Energy will soon make an announcement about a special blue-ribbon panel to study how to deal with the country's growing civilian nuclear waste. The panel is of particular interest to states where spent nuclear fuel is generated and stored. Currently used commercial nuclear fuel is stored in the following states: AZ, AR, CA, CO, CT, FL, GA, ID, IL, IA, KS, LA, ME, MD, MA, MI, MN, MS, MO, NE, NH, NJ, NY, NC, OH, OR, PA, SC, TN, TX, VT, VA, WA, and WI.
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