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Mike Levin
U.S. Representative
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Rodney Davis
U.S. Representative

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Dave Marroni
Assistant Director
Government Accountability Office Energy Group
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Dr. Kim Petry
Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary of Spent Fuel and Waste Disposition at U.S. Department of Energy

Used Nuclear Fuel Management: New Administration, New Congress, New Hope?

The U.S. repository program has stagnated since the Department of Energy (DOE) ceased work on the Yucca Mountain repository license application in 2010. Though there was funding for consolidated storage in the FY21 Omnibus Appropriations Bill, it has yet to translate into progress in siting and licensing storage facilities. A planned private consolidated used nuclear fuel storage initiative in Texas got a license from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission in September and another one in New Mexico expects to do likewise in early 2022. However, state opposition to both is increasing, in part because there is no permanent repository program.

While the nuclear industry has proven it can safely store used fuel on reactor sites indefinitely, it is important for the country to develop an integrated used nuclear fuel management policy and make demonstrable progress toward carrying the policy out. The President’s Special Session will feature some key players in making that happen.

  • This year U.S. Representatives Mike Levin (D-CA) and Rodney Davis (R-IL) formed the Spent Nuclear Fuel Solutions Caucus, a bipartisan group of House members who hope to drive progress on the safe storage, transportation, and disposal of spent nuclear fuel across the country. Representatives Levin and Davis will share their vision of the role of Congress in the used fuel issue.
  • In September the Government Accountability Office (GAO) issued a report on commercial spent nuclear fuel entitled “Congressional Action Needed to Break Impasse and Develop a Permanent Disposal Solution.” Dave Marroni, the assistant director of the GAO energy group led the study and will discuss the key recommendations.
  • Within the executive branch, responsibility for managing commercial used fuel resides at the Department of Energy’s Office of Nuclear Energy. Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary for Nuclear Energy, Kim Petry, will discuss DOE’s plans for getting the ball rolling again on used fuel.

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