Examining America's Nuclear Waste Management, Storage, and the Need for Solutions

Date: 
Friday, June 7, 2019 - 2:00am
Location: 
Chet Holifield Federal Building. 2400 Avila RoadLaguna, CA 92677
Examining America's Nuclear Waste Management, Storage, and the Need for Solutions

PURPOSE

  • The hearing will examine the role of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission in ensuring reactor safety and the management of safe storage and disposal of nuclear waste, safety risks related to nuclear waste storage, and the challenges the country faces in finding a solution for the safe storage and disposal of spent nuclear fuel. 

 

  • The hearing will also explore actions that can be taken by Congress to resolve this country’s current nuclear waste storage problem.  

BACKGROUND

  • The Trump Administration has reportedly chosen to push forward with a project to designate Yucca Mountain as a nuclear waste repository.

 

  • Despite the Trump Administration’s decision, Yucca Mountain is not seen as a viable long-term storage space for spent nuclear fuel. The State of Nevada plans to contest the licensing of Yucca Mountain.  

 

  • Proposed interim storage solutions in New Mexico and Texas have been met with concerns and opposition from advocacy groups and local communities.

 

  • Operators of decommissioned plants and host communities are tasked with deciding how to manage nuclear fuel because there is no federal permanent repository or interim storage solution for nuclear waste.

 

  • At the San Onofre nuclear generating station (SONGS), the storage of spent nuclear fuel on-site has already proven to have raised certain safety and environmental risks for nearby communities. 

 

  • The Spent Fuel Prioritization Act, introduced by Representative Mike Levin (CA-49), who represents the district where SONGS is located, and co-sponsored by Chairman Harley Rouda, would amend the Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1982, directing the Secretary of Energy to prioritize waste or spent fuel from commercial sources based on the operating status of the reactor, local seismic activity, and the population of neighboring areas.

Rep. Rouda's Opening Statement

WITNESSES

Mr. Tom Isaacs
Former Lead Advisor, Blue Ribbon Commission on America's Nuclear Future

Mr. Scott Morris
Region IV Administrator, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Region IV

Mr. Daniel Stetson
Vice Chairman, SONGS Community Engagement Panel

Mr. Don Hancock 
Director and Administrator, Nuclear Waste Safety Program, on behalf of Southwest Research and Information Center

The Honorable Darrell E. Issa 
Former Chairman, Committee on Oversight and Government Reform

DOCUMENTS

 

HEARING RECAP

116th Congress