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Committee Seeks Update from NRC on Waste Confidence Rule

Jul 23, 2014
Members Want Clarity on When Commission Will Resume Licensing

WASHINGTON, DC – House Energy and Commerce Committee members today wrote to Nuclear Regulatory Commission Chairman Allison Macfarlane urging the Commission to act quickly on its waste confidence rule regarding the environmental impacts associated with spent nuclear fuel. A U.S. Court of Appeals decision in June 2012 vacated the 2010 revision of NRC’s waste confidence rule, establishing a licensing moratorium. Members requested the Commission provide an update on its progress in completing the rule and clarity on when the NRC will resume its core function of issuing licenses.

"NRC has been in a holding pattern for the last two years, unable to carry out its core function of issuing licenses. It’s time we get our nuclear future back on track," said committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI).

In the letter, the members wrote, "On July 21, 2014, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) staff transmitted the Waste Confidence draft final rule to the Commission. We request an update on next steps now that the draft final rule has been submitted, including when the Commission will act on the rule and end the NRC’s two-year licensing moratorium. …

"In its September 6, 2012, direction to NRC staff, the Commission established an aggressive 24-month schedule to publish the final rule. This schedule was later revised to provide for publication of a final rule by October 3, 2014, a one-month delay. It is our understanding that the Commission would need to conclude its action on the matter one month earlier in order to facilitate publication. 

"Having voted on the draft rule and having received a robust briefing from the NRC staff and an external panel on March 21, 2014, the Commission should be familiar with the issues addressed in the draft final rule.  It is our expectation that this familiarity enables the Commission to act with the same urgency that was required of the staff."

The committee is seeking a response from NRC by August 6, 2014.

To read the full letter, click HERE.