Bills Introduced In Senate Would Affect Decommissioning

Two bills have been introduced in the U.S. Senate that would likely make decommissioning nuclear power plants more expensive and possibly more arduous.

San OnofreThe first bill, the San Clemente Times reported, was introduced by California democrat Kamala Harris. That bill, The Safe and Secure Decommissioning Act of 2018 – S.2396 – would put an end to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission's ability to grant waivers or other exceptions to safety and emergency readiness procedures in early decommissioning stages when the reactors are no longer operating and the reactor fuel is moved into cooling pools. This procedure is outlined in the Atomic Energy Ac of 1954, but it would end with passage of the bill.

A similar bill was brought forward last year, but it failed to gather much support. This bill would ban waivers for full preparedness requirements for plants until the fuel is moved into dry cask storage.

The other bill, co-sponsored by Vermont independent Bernie Sanders, would allow local communities more input when plans for decommissioning a plant are drawn up.

The number of that bill was not available and details were sparse at the time the story went to press, The Times said.

Nuclear power plants, most recently the San Onofre Nuclear Generating, are granted permission to scale down their emergency and safety preparedness after reactors have been closed, but before all the fuel has made it to dry cask storage. Obviously, decommissioning expenses would rise if plants were not allowed to scale back on this requirement before then.

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