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Pallone on Committee Passage of Nuclear Waste Bill

Nov 20, 2019
Press Release

Washington, D.C. – Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ) released the following statement after the “Nuclear Waste Policy Amendments Act of 2019,” (H.R. 2699) was favorably reported, as amended, to the full House of Representatives by voice vote:

“The Energy and Commerce Committee took an important step today towards ensuring our nation’s nuclear waste can begin to move out of communities that are home to a nuclear power plant.  I thank Representatives McNerney and Shimkus for their leadership on this bill.  Communities across the country are expressing growing concern as more and more nuclear plants close, and this bill gets us closer to a real national solution for moving spent fuel to an interim facility and, ultimately, to a permanent repository.”

H.R. 2699, the “Nuclear Waste Policy Amendments Act of 2019,” was introduced by Reps. Jerry McNerney (D-CA) and John Shimkus (R-IL).  The bill amends the Nuclear Waste Policy Act to update the Department of Energy’s (DOE) ability to manage nuclear waste. In the near term, the bill gives the DOE authority to site, construct and operate one or more interim storage sites that would consolidate spent nuclear fuel (SNF) from decommissioned reactors. The program would also prioritize the transfer of SNF from seismically active areas, and permit DOE to undertake “infrastructure activities” intended to enable construction and operation of a repository at Yucca Mountain in the State of Nevada, including safety upgrades, site preparation, construction of a rail line, and grid connection.  Additionally, the bill establishes ratepayer protections by reforming the finance mechanism of the Nuclear Waste Fund and assures that DOE has adequate funding to construct and operate a repository.

Amendment to H.R. 2699 offered by Reps. Debbie Dingell (D-MI) and Fred Upton (R-MI) was adopted by voice vote.

  • The amendment conveys the Sense of Congress that neither the United States nor Canada should allow permanent or long-term storage of spent nuclear fuel or other radioactive waste near the Great Lakes.

Amendment to H.R. 2699 offered by Reps. Ben Ray Luján (D-NM) was adopted by voice vote.

  • The amendment creates a grant program to study the epidemiological impacts of uranium mining and milling among non-occupationally exposed individuals, including family members of uranium miners and millers.