WASHINGTON—Commissioner Anthony J. O’Donnell, of the Maryland Public Service Commission, will testify on behalf of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners on September 26 on the ongoing issue of nuclear waste disposal. He will appear before the United States House of Representatives Committee on Oversight and Government Reform Subcommittee on the Interior, Energy, and Environment’s 2:00 p.m. hearing on “Examining America’s Nuclear Waste Management and Storage.”
As noted in the announcement, the hearing is being convened to “examine the management of our nation’s increasing amount of nuclear waste” and to “highlight the challenges communities across the country face when dealing with nuclear waste.”
O’Donnell, who has testified previously on this matter, will voice NARUC’s longstanding position that, despite more than $40 billion invested by ratepayers into the U.S. Nuclear Waste Fund, the nuclear waste program has not advanced in 30 years. With more than 74,000 metric tons of commercial spent fuel currently at U.S. reactor sites and roughly 2,000 tons of waste produced annually in America’s nuclear power reactors, the program needs immediate reforms.
Although Congress decided decades ago that Yucca Mountain should be considered as a permanent U.S. repository and has already invested upwards of $11 billion analyzing the site, an attempt was made to dismantle the program. NARUC and others strenuously opposed this attempt. As a result, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission released safety evaluation reports on Yucca Mountain confirming expert staff’s conclusions that, “with reasonable expectation, DOE has demonstrated compliance with the NRC regulatory requirements for post-closure safety.” All that is lacking to complete the still-pending license proceeding is an appropriation from the Nuclear Waste Fund to cover the cost of completing the proceeding.
Pending the final development of a permanent repository, NARUC is open to interim storage solutions at one or more central locations, but only after consideration of the costs and benefits involved. We look forward to Congressional appropriations to expedite the permanent repository solution for which consumers have paid.
To see the full slate of witnesses and filed testimony, visit the hearing page at http://bit.ly/nuclearwastemanagement.
NARUC is a non-profit organization founded in 1889 whose members include the governmental agencies that are engaged in the regulation of utilities and carriers in the fifty States, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. NARUC's member agencies regulate telecommunications, energy, and water utilities. NARUC represents the interests of State public utility commissions before the three branches of the Federal government.