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Summary of Hearings on Nuclear Energy and Waste Disposal Policy

( 10/11/13 )

  • September 10, 2013: House Committee on Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Environment and the Economy Hearing on "Implementing the Nuclear Waste Policy Act -Next Steps"
  • July 31, 2013: House Committee on Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Environment and the Economy Oversight Hearing on DOE's Strategy for the Management and Disposal of Used Nuclear Fuel and High-Level Radioactive Waste
  • July 30, 2013: Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources Hearing to consider the Nuclear Waste Administration Act of 2013
  • April 11, 2013: House Committee on Appropriations Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development Oversight Hearing on Nuclear Waste Programs and Strategies

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House Committee on Energy and Commerce, Subcommittee on Environment and the Economy
Hearing on "Implementing the Nuclear Waste Policy Act – Next Steps"
September 10, 2013

Witnesses (with links to opening statements):
Allison Macfarlane
Chairman, Nuclear Regulatory Commission
Peter Lyons
Assistant Secretary for Nuclear Energy, Department of Energy

Committee Members Present (with links to opening statements):

John Shimkus (R-IL) Subcommittee Chairman
Fred Upton (R-MI), Full Committee Chairman
Phil Gingrey (R-GA), Subcommittee Vice Chair
Henry Waxman (D-CA), Subcommittee Ranking Member
Edward Whitfield (R-KY)
Joe Pitts (R-PA)
Bob Latta (R-OH)
Gene Green (D-TX)
Paul Tonko (D-NY)
Jerry McNerney (D-CA)

John Dingel (D-MI)
Ralph Hall (R- TX)
Bill Cassidy (R-LA)
David McKinley (R-WV)
Lois Capps (D-CA)
Tim Murphy (R-PA)
Gregg Harper (R-MS)
Gus Bilirakis (R-FL)
Bill Johnson (R-OH)


On September 10, 2013 the House Committee on Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Environment and the Economy held a hearing to address the actions of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) and the Department of Energy (DOE) regarding the construction of a geologic repository for nuclear waste at Yucca Mountain, Nevada.

In 1982, Congress enacted the Nuclear Waste Policy Act, which “established a multi-stage statutory framework governing the identification, construction, and operation of a permanent geologic nuclear waste repository.” Congress chose Yucca Mountain, Nevada, as the proposed location for a high-level nuclear waste repository but work on the project was suspended by the administration in September 2011 due to budgetary limitations. On August 13, 2013, a writ of mandamus was issued by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit directing the NRC to resume its review of the DOE’s license application to construct a repository at Yucca Mountain. The writ was issued because members of the court felt NRC of not following the law when they suspended investigations of Yucca Mountain. The DOE’s role is to develop and submit a license application to the NRC. The NRC has released reports on the safety of the Yucca Mountain site, but Macfarlane indicated on Tuesday that they are incomplete.

The NRC is seeking comments from interested participants by Sept. 30, 2013 on how to most efficiently approach the Yucca Mountain licensing process. Macfarlane could not say whether the NRC will appeal the court ruling, which demands that it re-start the Yucca Mountain project, until comments have been reviewed.

The NRC has $11.1 million from the Nuclear Waste Fund in unobligated carry over money. Based on the testimony from Macfarlane, the NRC has sufficient funding to complete the Safety Evaluation Report (SER). Macfarlane emphasized that the SER is just one step in ensuring safety, and that the NRC also needs to complete the environmental impacts survey. Rep. Tim Murphy (R-PA) calculated that the DOE and NRC combined have been allotted nearly $150 million in total to investigate Yucca Mountain as a high-level storage site, and is concerned the money was mismanaged.

Rep. Lois Capps (D-CA) expressed concern over seismic activity at the repository as well as long-term storage. Capps was under the impression the casks for storage were safe for 100 years. Macfarlane responded that the NRC licensed a cask for 20 years and renewed it for another 20 years, but were still unsure beyond that time. Capps asked for a backup plan if the Yucca Repository is not sufficient. Macfarlane noted that was a policy question and then referred the question to the Chairman to address permanent storage.

The hearing also addressed the DOE actions to cooperate with NRC and with the Court’s decision. Republican representatives interrogated Macfarlane about the court’s ruling that the NRC had violated federal law by not pursuing a license review of the project. Rep. John Shimkus (R-IL), the subcommittee Chairman, said the NRC was continuing to “flout the law” by not having reached a decision yet. Macfarlane noted that the NRC began taking steps to comply with the court’s direction following the issuance of the decision and were doing their best to expedite the process.

Opening statements, witness testimonies and an archived webcast of the hearing can be found on the Committee’s web site.

 

-SKF

House Committee on Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Environment and the Economy Oversight Hearing on DOE’s Strategy for the Management and Disposal of Used Nuclear Fuel and High-Level Radioactive Waste
July 31, 2013

Witnesses (with links to opening statements):
PANEL I
Ernest Moniz
Secretary, U.S. Department of Energy

Committee Members Present (with links to opening statements):
John Shimkus (R-IL), Subcommittee Chair
Paul Tonko (D-NY), Subcommittee Ranking Member
Fred Upton (R-MI), Full Committee Chair
Henry Waxman (D-CA), Full Committee Ranking Member
Joe Barton (R-TX)
John Dingell (D-MI)
Ralph Hall (R-TX)
Gene Green (D-TX)
Gregg Harper (R-MS)
Lois Capps (D-CA)
Bill Johnson (R-OH)
Jerry McNerney (D-CA)
Bob Latta (R-OH)
John Barrow (D-GA)
Tim Murphy (R-PA)
Doris Matsui (D-CA)
David McKinley (R-WV)
Edward Whitfield (R-KY)

On July 31, 2013, the House Committee on Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Environment and the Economy held an oversight hearing on Department of Energy’s (DOE) strategy for the management and disposal of used nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste. The hearing focused on the recommendations of the President’s Blue Ribbon Commission on America’s Nuclear Future and the DOE’s January 2013 strategy document on the disposal of nuclear waste.

In their opening statements, John Shimkus (R-IL) and Fred Upton (R-MI) expressed frustration with the Administration’s withdrawal of support from the DOE’s 2008 license application for the Yucca Mountain repository. Yucca Mountain was designated as the nation’s nuclear waste repository by a 1987 amendment to the Nuclear Waste Policy Act, but the repository has faced state and local resistance. Upton explained that an August 2012 GAO report indicated that the Yucca Mountain repository could be completed more quickly than interim storage, and suggested that Yucca Mountain is the least expensive option for nuclear waste disposal.

In contrast, Paul Tonko (D-NY) and Henry Waxman (D-CA) were skeptical that the Yucca Mountain facility could be developed in a timely manner. Waxman instead highlighted the Nuclear Waste Administration Act of 2013 (S. 1240), a bipartisan bill introduced in the Senate that would establish a new siting process for nuclear waste storage and disposal. “The bill may not have the final answer to every question, but it represents a genuine effort to get past ideology and begin grappling with these tough issues,” Waxman stated.

In his opening statement, DOE Secretary Ernest Moniz underlined the importance of public acceptance and sound science in choosing a disposal site and asked the committee to consider legislation to enable DOE to implement its new strategy for nuclear waste disposal.

Representatives from both parties worried that DOE would abandon plans to develop a nuclear waste repository at Yucca Mountain and emphasized the amount of money that the federal government has already invested in the project. Moniz responded that the repository lacks the public support needed to move forward, but added that modeling techniques and methodology from the Yucca Mountain studies would be useful in evaluating other waste disposal sites. Joe Barton (R-TX) and Gene Green (D-TX) pointed out that new legislation could enable DOE to site additional repositories without preventing the Yucca Mountain repository from being constructed.

Bill Johnson (R-OH), Bob Latta (R-OH), and Shimkus criticized the DOE for studying nuclear waste transport and storage possibilities outside the context of the Yucca Mountain repository, stating that such actions violate the Nuclear Waste Policy Act. However, Moniz responded that the studies were broadly applicable to storage at any site, including Yucca Mountain, and therefore were not in violation of the law.

Representatives from both parties questioned whether the DOE’s proposed consent-based siting process would be effective. Gregg Harper (R-MS) reminded the committee that the Low-Level Radioactive Waste Policy Act instituted a consent-based process that resulted in lengthy delays, and warned that the DOE strategy could lead to similar problems. Shimkus and Tim Murphy (R-PA) asked Moniz whether any communities had expressed interest in hosting interim storage or a repository. Moniz responded that there have been media reports about interested communities, including a Texas county that passed a resolution on the matter. Moniz also highlighted an example of successful cooperation between community, state, and federal governments on transuranic waste disposal at the DOE Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in New Mexico.

Some members questioned the DOE’s proposal to create interim storage sites, fearing that such sites could become de facto long-term storage locations due to the lack of development of a final repository. However, Upton and Doris Matsui (D-CA) voiced their support for interim storage, asserting that moving spent fuel from decommissioned reactors is a top priority. In response, Moniz emphasized the importance of legally linking the development of interim storage with the development of repositories.

Ralph Hall (R-TX), Lois Capps (D-CA), and Matsui asked about the safety and logistical challenges of transporting spent fuel to these storage sites. Moniz alerted the committee to a 2006 National Academy of Sciences study that recommended moving nuclear waste by train and added that large volumes of nuclear waste have been successfully moved in Europe.

Jerry McNerney (D-CA) asked Moniz about the commingling of military and civilian waste, and about whether nuclear waste would be retrievable from a repository. Moniz responded that the Nuclear Waste Policy Act had required commingling, but that the DOE was now reassessing the utility of that mandate. He explained that spent fuel – but not high-level defense waste – could be reprocessed and used for further power production. Because of the potential for reprocessing, and for reasons of public acceptance, he suggested that spent fuel and other waste would likely be retrievable from a repository for a period of time after it is placed there.

Opening statements and witness testimony, as well as a video archive of the entire hearing, are available from the committee website.

-BLH

Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources Hearing to consider the Nuclear Waste Administration Act of 2013
July 30, 2013

Witnesses (with links to opening statements):
PANEL I
Ernest Moniz
Secretary, U.S. Department of Energy

PANEL II
Sally Young Jameson
Maryland Delegate, National Conference of State Legislatures
Joe Garcia
Vice President, Southwest Area, National Congress of American Indians
David C. Boyd
Chairman, Committee on Electricity, National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners
Chuck Smith
Vice Chair, Energy Communities Alliance
Marvin S. Fertel
President and Chief Executive Officer, Nuclear Energy Institute
Geoffrey H. Fettus
Senior Attorney, Natural Resources Defense Council
Mr. David Lochbaum
Director, Nuclear Safety Project, Union of Concerned Scientists

Committee Members Present (with links to opening statements):
Ron Wyden (D-OR), Chair
Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Ranking Member
Martin Heinrich (D-NM)
Lamar Alexander (R-TN)
Al Franken (D-MN)
Jim Risch (R-ID)
John Barrasso (R-WY)
Dean Heller (R-NV)
Tim Scott (R-SC)
Maria Cantwell (R-WA)

On July 30, 2013, the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources held a hearing to consider the Nuclear Waste Administration Act of 2013 (S. 1240). The hearing focused on the bill’s impact on the proposed Yucca Mountain repository, the likelihood that storage facilities would be successfully sited under the bill, and other details of nuclear waste storage and transport.

The bipartisan Nuclear Waste Administration Act of 2013, introduced by Sen. Wyden (D-OR) and cosponsored by Senators Alexander (R-TN), Feinstein (D-CA), and Murkowski (R-AK), is designed to implement the recommendations of the President’s Blue Ribbon Commission on America’s Nuclear Future, which were released in January 2012. The bill would transfer nuclear waste management responsibilities from the Department of Energy (DOE) to a new agency, the Nuclear Waste Administration, which would be headed by an administrator serving a 6-year term. The bill would also establish a new siting process for nuclear waste storage and disposal that would be based on sound science; require the consent of state, local, and tribal governments; and link interim waste storage to progress on a final waste repository.

In their opening statements, Senators Ron Wyden and Lisa Murkowski emphasized the need for new legislation on nuclear waste disposal. They highlighted the government’s contractual obligation to dispose of spent fuel, and Murkowski cautioned that the government’s breach of this contract has cost taxpayers nearly $3 billion. “Simply continuing to pass the burden of safely disposing of nuclear waste to future generations is not an option,” Wyden added.

On the hearing’s first panel, DOE Secretary Ernest Moniz underlined the importance of public acceptance and sound science in choosing a disposal site for nuclear waste, and said he viewed the bill as “a promising framework for addressing key issues.”

Senators Jim Risch (R-ID), John Barrasso (R-WY), and Tim Scott (R-SC) expressed concern that the legislation signals a shift away from using Yucca Mountain as a waste repository. Yucca Mountain was designated as the nation’s nuclear waste repository by a 1987 amendment to the Nuclear Waste Policy Act, and Scott expressed frustration with the Administration’s withdrawal of support from the Yucca Mountain repository license application filed by DOE in 2008. In contrast, Dean Heller (R-NV) expressed concern that S.1240 does not prohibit the use of Yucca Mountain as a repository.

Lamar Alexander (R-TN) responded that the there is a legislative cap of 70,000 metric tons on the amount of waste that can be stored in Yucca Mountain. Since the amount of spent fuel accumulated in the U.S. has nearly reached that capacity, he urged support for S. 1240, which enables the siting of additional repositories. Moniz affirmed that the bill does not directly address Yucca Mountain, but that its framework for nuclear waste management would be useful with or without the Yucca Mountain repository.

Many senators worried that communities would not volunteer to be storage sites or long-term repositories for nuclear waste under the bill’s consent-based process. Al Franken (D-MN) also asked about the number of sites in the U.S. with suitable geological conditions to be waste repositories. Moniz explained that several interested communities have been identified in media reports. He added that a range of geological settings were considered in the 1957 National Academy of Sciences study on radioactive waste disposal and have been used for repositories in Europe.

Questions also focused on the bill’s timeline for interim storage and final disposal of nuclear waste. Martin Heinrich (D-NM) worried that communities might volunteer to become interim storage sites, only to become de facto permanent storage sites if a permanent repository is not constructed. Moniz replied that the bill’s linkage of storage and disposal is essential, as is adequate funding for both. Alexander added that states where interim storage occurs could negotiate their own, stronger language linking storage and disposal.

Other questions for Moniz centered on the bill’s creation of a new agency to manage nuclear waste, the movement of spent fuel, and the commingling of military and civilian waste. Barrasso worried that the creation of a new Nuclear Waste Administration would diminish Presidential and Congressional oversight, but Moniz responded that oversight would not be diminished and added that the Blue Ribbon Commission clearly recommended the establishment of a new organization dedicated solely to managing nuclear waste.

Franken asked about waste transportation, and Moniz explained that a 2006 National Academy of Sciences study recommended rail as the principal mode of transport, but acknowledged that other modes such as trucks and barges would likely be needed. He added that large volumes of nuclear waste have been transported in Europe without incident.

Members of the hearing’s second panel suggested modifications to the bill, including consulting state legislatures in the siting process, amending the definition of affected Indian tribes, requiring the government to move forward with the Yucca Mountain repository, and strengthening the linkage between interim and permanent storage.

Opening statements and witness testimony, as well as a video archive of the entire hearing, are available from the committee website.

-BLH

House Committee on Appropriations Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development Oversight Hearing on Nuclear Waste Programs and Strategies
April 11, 2013

Witnesses:
Panel 1
The Honorable Peter Lyons
Assistant Secretary for Nuclear Energy, Department of Energy
Michael Weber
Deputy Executive Director, Operations for Materials, Waste, Research, State, Tribal, and Compliance Programs, Nuclear Regulatory Commission

Panel 2
Frank Rusco
Director of Natural Resources and Environment, Energy and Science, Government Accountability Office
Susan Eisenhower
Former Member, Blue Ribbon Commission on America's Nuclear Future
Rodney Ewing
Chairman, Nuclear Waste Technical Review Board

Committee Members Present:
Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-NJ), Chairman
Marcy Kaptur (D-OH), Ranking Member
Mike Simpson (R-ID)
Chaka Fattah (D-PA)
Pete Visclosky (D-IN)
Alan Nunnelee (R-MS)
Chuck Fleischmann (R-TN)

On April 11, 2013, the House Committee on Appropriations Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development held a hearing to receive testimony regarding current, previous, and suggested programs and strategies for addressing the fate of the nation’s spent nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste.

Subcommittee Chairman Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-NJ) began his opening statement saying that “while Yucca Mountain will not be the sole focus of this hearing, it will underlie many of our questions.” He criticized the cessation of the Yucca Mountain repository given the time and funds spend on assessing and developing the site. He discussed President Obama’s budget request for fiscal year (FY) 2014 which provided “funding to implement some of the Blue Ribbon Commissions recommendations – recommendations which Congress has not approved, neither in whole or part.” The Blue Ribbon Commission on America’s Nuclear Future (BRC), was created in 2010 by President Obama "to conduct a comprehensive review of policies for managing the back end of the nuclear fuel cycle and recommend a new plan." He referred to Obama’s nuclear waste plans as “little more than a blueprint for dialogue to get past Yucca Mountain.” He discussed the nearly $20 billion in liabilities that the nation must pay to nuclear utilities due to breach of contract under the Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1982 (NWPA; P.L. 97-425) if the fate of nuclear waste is not addressed.

In her opening statement, Subcommittee Ranking Member Marcy Kaptur (D-OH) noted the far reaching impacts of nuclear waste issues on regions across the country. She stated that “the government must live up to its responsibility and provide for the eventual safe disposal of commercial spent fuel…[and] has an obligation to safely package and store high level radioactive waste generated by the nuclear weapons program.” She asked the witnesses to address the “enormous amounts of money” spent on Yucca Mountain and respond to the question, “What do we have to show for that investment?” Kaptur also brought up the new January 2013 Department of Energy (DOE) nuclear waste strategy titled Strategy for the Management and Disposal of Used Nuclear Fuel and High-Level Nuclear RadioactiveWaste, “in which we appear to be starting essentially from scratch.”

In his testimony, Peter Lyons, assistant secretary for nuclear energy at the DOE, noted “the vital role of nuclear power in the nation’s clean energy portfolio and the Administration’s support for it.” He focused on outlining the Administration’s January 2013 strategy for nuclear waste which incorporates recommendations from the BRC. If the new strategy is followed, it “begins operations of a pilot interim storage facility by 2021, advances toward the siting and licensing of a larger interim storage facility by 2025, and makes demonstrable progress…to facilitate the availability of a geologic repository by 2048.” Facilities may be collocated, and comingle commercial and military waste. He voiced support for a consent-based system and the creation of an organization to deal specifically with issues of nuclear waste. He outlined the president’s FY 2014 proposal, which supports “comprehensive funding reform” through proposed budget levels of up to $200 million, “reclassification of spending,” and “access to the balance of the nuclear waste fund when needed.” It provides a budget baseline that more accurately “reflects” potential liability costs as well as “funding and authority for the EPA to begin the review and update of generic (non-site specific) disposal standards.”

Deputy Executive Director of Operations for Materials, Waste, Research, State, Tribal, and Compliance Programs at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) Michael Weber reviewed the NRC’s “mission to protect public health and safety, promote the common defense and security, and protect the environment,” as well as the “work related to the orderly closure of our licensing review for the proposed repository at Yucca Mountain” in FY 2011 in his testimony. He indicated that the NRC is “awaiting a decision” on pending litigation regarding the closure. He announced that the commission aims to make the draft Waste Confidence environmental impact statement and Temporary Storage Rule available this year. He discussed the NRC’s role in ensuring “that spent nuclear fuel is stored, handled, and transported safely and securely through our comprehensive regulatory program, including licensing, oversight, rulemaking, research, incident response, and international cooperation.”

Chairman Frelinghuysen began the question and answer period by inquiring about the DOE’s activities in FY 2013 regarding “consolidated interim storage and consent-based siting” and on what their $60 million in funding for “used nuclear fuel disposition activities” is being used. Lyons listed some activities currently underway including assessing geologic formations in a non-site specific manner for information useful to establishing a geologic repository, improving “international cooperation” to learn of work using “different geologic media” for waste repositories, and progressing on borehole disposal research. He claimed that these actions were within authorization as they are not site-specific.  

Chuck Fleischmann (R-TN) asked about reprocessing of fuel and technical considerations. Lyons responded that one of the reasons suggested for reprocessing was the possibility of a uranium shortage. However, he noted the U.S. is “not running out of uranium, we certainly have enough for 100 years.” He discussed research at Oak Ridge National Laboratory into extraction of uranium from seawater which could offer an “inexhaustible” resource. He stated that “obtaining” uranium from seawater is “a factor of four or five more costly today than mined uranium, but Oak Ridge has already reduced that cost by at least a factor of four to five in just two years.”

Much of the discussion with the first panel focused on the monetary losses from investment in Yucca Mountain, litigation payments, and the ability of the DOE and NRC to gain valuable insight from Yucca Mountain to apply when approaching future geologic repositories. They also considered dry as opposed to wet storage of spent fuel.

Lyons stated that “one football field of the order of twelve feet deep would take care of all the waste.”

Frank Rusco, director of natural resources and environment for the Government Accountability Office (GAO), explained in his testimony the NWPA directive “to investigate sites for a federal deep geologic repository to dispose of both civilian and defense-related spent nuclear fuel and other high-level nuclear waste.” He outlined the work and research done on Yucca Mountain, the BCR’s recommendations, and the January 2013 spent nuclear fuel strategy. He discussed the GAO’s role in having “issued several reports related to the management of spent nuclear fuel.” The reports examined “the safety and security of spent nuclear fuel; the benefits, challenges, and costs of the Yucca Mountain repository and two potential alternatives; lessons learned from the past 30 years of spent nuclear fuel management; alternative uses of the Yucca Mountain site and related challenges; and the challenges of accumulating quantities of spent nuclear fuel at reactor sites.” Particularly, between November 2009 and August 2012 GAO studied “key attributes and challenges of options that have been considered for storage or disposal of spent nuclear fuel.”

In her testimony, Susan Eisenhower, who served as a member of the BRC, discussed some of the BRC’s eight recommendations. She focused on the importance of establishing a federal organization committed to dealing with nuclear waste and employing a consent-based selection process for choosing interim storage and geologic repository locations. She noted, “Our consent-based approach neither includes nor excludes Yucca Mountain.” She pointed out that “soon” the U.S. will need a second repository in addition to a first. She stated that the President’s January 2013 strategy “embraces the spirit” of the BRC recommendations, but projects completion of a repository taking a “decade or more longer” than the BRC expected. Eisenhower also raised the issue of public concern over transportation, but noted that in 40 years “about 3000 shipments of spent nuclear fuel have navigated more than 1.7 million miles of roads and railways” with no incident of environmental contamination. She advocated for increased public outreach to improve public confidence in waste transport, storage, and disposal.

Chairman of the Nuclear Waste Technical Review Board Rodney Ewing testified that “there is a broad scientific and engineering consensus that a deep mined geologic repository is an appropriate and safe method for the isolation of spent nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste from the environment.” He noted broad international support for such a geologic repository and referred to establishing a geologic repository in the U.S. as a “top priority.” He advocated for a “strong and continuing engagement” between stakeholders such as “local communities, the state, and Native American tribes.” He noted that success under a consent-based system requires the nation to “blend the scientific and engineering requirements with continuous public engagement.” He discussed some “common themes” among U.S. and international nuclear waste programs: “full engagement of the affected parties,…a well articulated technical basis for the selection of the site and the design of a repository, and finally the basis and strategy of the case for safety must be accessible to the broader technical community as well as the public.” He also mentioned the success at the Waste Isolation Pilot Program in New Mexico.

Kaptur, during the first panel, and Frelinghuysen, during the second panel, asked about the total spent on Yucca Mountain. Lyons noted that estimates vary, but estimated $11 billion. Rusco stated the total as $15 billion due to inflation.

Frelinghuysen questioned the feasibility of a consent-based system and the fate of Yucca Mountain by pointing out that Yucca Mountain originally had the support of the local community. Eisenhower noted there was a local “eagerness” for the project, but it suffered from the “donut-effect,” the local community supported the project while the state opposed it.

Frelinghuysen asked if there were any technical issues with Yucca Mountain. Ewing responded that the Nuclear Waste Technical Review Board’s review found that “at this point no individual technical or scientific factors have been identified that would automatically eliminate Yucca Mountain for consideration as a site for permanent repository.” Mike Simpson (R-ID) stated in conclusion that the issue with Yucca Mountain was political not technical.

Fleischmann inquired about Eisenhower’s impressions of nuclear waste storage practices in other countries. Eisenhower stated that she was “impressed” by Sweden’s system and particularly supported their establishment of a federal organization to deal specifically with nuclear waste.

Questions and comments also dealt with the need to increase public confidence that any interim storage facility established at the consent of a community would not become an indefinite, long-term storage facility. They discussed the possibility of collocating the interim storage and permanent repository, and the need for “some kind of soft linkage eventually” between the two.

Opening statements and witness testimonies for the hearing can be found on the Committee’s web site.

-KAC


Contributed by Wilson Bonner, Geoscience Policy Staff; Kimberley Corwin, 2013 AAPG/AGI

Please send any comments or requests for information to AGI Geoscience Policy.

Last updated on October 11, 2013

 
 

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