Regular readers of the Rod Report (and believe me, I appreciate your continued interest) have probably grown weary of me droning on and on about the benefits offered by a consolidated interim storage facility for spent nuclear fuel. It’s a subject I have revisited many times since Waste Control Specialists submitted its license application to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission last spring, and it’s a mission that all of us at WCS take seriously.
But today I’ve got good news for those of you tired of hearing me talk about storage.
Last week, there was a significant development in Congress that had other folks talking about the benefits of interim storage. That’s because two U.S. Congressmen announced the filing of the Consolidated Interim Storage Act of 2017 (HR 474) – Congressman Michael Conaway, R-Texas, and Congressman Darrell Issa, R-California. So, outside of saying a very sincere, “Thank you,” I’m going to let them do the talking today.
Congressman Darrell Issa:
“The Interim Consolidated Storage Act is a great solution that allows us to break through past years of political gridlock to get this waste out of our communities and into safe, secure sites that are both well-equipped and want to store it. Maintaining the status quo isn’t an option. Until we can get temporary and – ideally – permanent storage facilities open, nuclear waste will remain on-site more than 120 different sites nationwide. In my district, the San Onofre Nuclear Generation Station houses more than 3.6 million pounds of nuclear material right on the coast, along a fault line, on one of the largest U.S. military bases, in the heart of one of our most densely populated communities. Allowing it to stay there indefinitely is only asking for trouble. This is just one of hundreds of examples of similar sites nationwide. This bill advances a creative solution to this problem and is a reasonable plan to get the waste moved quickly and securely.”
Congressman Michael Conaway:
“Nuclear waste should be stored with the utmost care, but currently, licensed facilities such as Waste Control Specialists in Andrews, Texas, are not able to serve as interim nuclear waste storage sites due to an outdated law and bureaucratic inefficiencies. As a result, nuclear utility plants currently have no choice but to store their waste on site. This legislation allows the Department of Energy to cut through the red tape and enter into contracts with these licensed facilities, such as the one in Andrews, ensuring that nuclear waste will be properly stored until a permanent site is established.”
It’s worth noting that Southern California Edison was quick to offer a letter of support for the legislation, and I would hope that other utilities – especially those with stranded spent nuclear fuel – would be quick to join in the chorus. We can solve this problem. We can protect the environment and we can save taxpayers tens of billions of dollars while doing it.
It’s time to act. Congressman Issa summed it up well: “Maintaining the status quo isn’t an option.”