Budget Bills Would Put in Place Blue Ribbon Commission Waste Recommendations

In the last week, House and Senate committees have acted on separate spending bills that both address some of the nuclear waste measures advocated by the Blue Ribbon Commission on America’s Nuclear Future.

On Tuesday, the Senate Energy and Water Development Subcommittee marked up a 2013 appropriations bill that includes a provision supporting the consolidation of spent fuel at one or more storage sites.

“The Nuclear Energy Institute commends the subcommittee for taking seriously the recommendations of the Blue Ribbon Commission on America’s Nuclear Future to begin moving used nuclear fuel from nuclear plant sites into consolidated storage facilities,” NEI CEO Marvin Fertel said in a statement shortly after the legislation moved forward.

Bloomberg quoted Senator Dianne Feinstein as saying the bill’s language allows for the BRC-favored “consent-based” approach to finding a home for the spent fuel now stored onsite at reactors across the country. If passed by the full House and Senate, it would allow the Department of Energy to begin looking for such sites.

Last week, a similar committee in the House also marked up its budget bill. It includes a $10 million appropriation for BRC goals, with funding drawn from the pool of money long collected from nuclear operators to pay for permanent waste storage. In a move unlikely to meet approval by the Senate or the White House, the bill also included $25 million for the Yucca Mountain repository project in Nevada, which was effectively abandoned in the 2010 budget.

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