2022 ANS Congressional Fellow begins work on Senate committee staff

January 4, 2022, 12:01PMANS News

Marzano

Matthew Marzano is beginning a year of service in Washington, D.C., as the 2022 Glenn T. Seaborg Congressional Science and Engineering Fellow, and he is excited about bringing his nuclear power experience to the policy-making process.

“I am most looking forward to the opportunity to learn about the legislative process and the conduct of business on Capitol Hill. Oftentimes we are presented a picture of a dysfunctional Congress through the media, but I’ve gathered through the orientation process and congressional interviews that collaboration is alive and well, especially in the area of clean energy,” Marzano said.

Senators probe nuclear priorities: HALEU, hydrogen, reactor siting, and more

November 5, 2021, 9:29AMNuclear News
From left, Shannon Bragg-Sitton, Paul Chodak, and Michael J. Guastella appear before the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources on November 4.

As Congress awaited key votes yesterday on spending bills that include production tax credits for at-risk plants and a new amendment adding $500 million in supplemental funding over five years to increase the availability of high-assay low-enriched uranium (HALEU), the U.S. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee held a Full Committee Hearing On Potential Non-Electric Applications Of Civilian Nuclear Energy. Sen. Joe Manchin (D., W.V.), chairman of the committee, emphasized that “advanced nuclear reactors hold enormous potential to provide opportunity to communities across the country with zero-emission baseload power” and made it clear he expects new reactors to replace retiring coal plants in his home state of West Virginia.

Speaking before the committee were Shannon Bragg-Sitton of Idaho National Laboratory, Paul Chodak III of American Electric Power, and Michael J. Guastella of the Council of Radionuclides and Radiopharmaceuticals.

DOE releases its climate adaptation and resilience plan

October 11, 2021, 9:30AMNuclear News

The Department of Energy has released its 2021 Climate Adaptation and Resilience Plan, outlining steps that it will take to ensure its facilities and operations adapt to and are increasingly resilient to the impacts of a changing climate. As announced by the White House last week , the DOE was one of more than 20 federal agencies to release climate change plans, which were developed in response to President Biden’s executive order on tackling the climate crisis, issued in January.

Markey, Levin introduce spent fuel legislation

September 30, 2021, 7:02AMRadwaste Solutions

Markey

Levin

Sen. Edward J. Markey (D., Mass.) and Rep. Mike Levin (D., Calif.) have introduced the Nuclear Waste Task Force Act. The legislation is intended to establish a new task force to consider the implications of amending the Atomic Energy Act of 1954 to remove exemptions from environmental laws for nuclear waste. Eliminating this loophole could help enable consent-based siting of long-term storage solutions for spent nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste, the lawmakers said.

Intended to continue the work of 2012's Blue Ribbon Commission on America’s Nuclear Future, the task force would also be responsible for providing a clear explanation of what constitutes “consent-based siting.”

GAO urges Congress to address spent fuel stalemate

September 28, 2021, 3:00PMRadwaste Solutions
Spent nuclear fuel in dry storage at the decommissioned Zion nuclear power plant in Illinois.

Congress needs to take action to break the impasse over a permanent solution for commercial spent nuclear fuel, according to a report by the U.S. Government Accountability Office. The GAO recommends that Congress amend the Nuclear Waste Policy Act (NWPA) to authorize a new consent-based siting process, restructure the Nuclear Waste Fund, and direct the Department of Energy to develop and implement an integrated waste management strategy.

The GAO also recommends that the DOE finalize the consent-based process it began in 2015 for siting consolidated interim storage and permanent geologic repository facilities. The DOE agrees with that recommendation.

Reps. Levin, Davis form bipartisan caucus to tackle stranded spent fuel issue

July 26, 2021, 9:30AMRadwaste Solutions

Levin

Davis

Hoping to drive progress on the safe storage, transportation, and disposal of spent nuclear fuel across the country, Reps. Mike Levin (D., Calif.) and Rodney Davis (R., Ill.) have formed the Spent Nuclear Fuel Solutions Caucus in the U.S. House of Representatives.

According to Levin and Davis, the bipartisan caucus seeks to address the challenges associated with stranded commercial spent fuel across the country and serve as a forum where House members can come together to make headway on the issue, regardless of whether or not they have a preferred solution.

In announcing the formation of the caucus on July 21, Levin and Davis said that the current system of spent nuclear fuel storage is not sustainable, particularly for sites that no longer have operating reactors and could be redeveloped for other beneficial uses. They added that it is also a violation of the promise, codified by law, that the federal government would take title to the waste in return for ratepayers’ contributions to the Nuclear Waste Fund.

D.C. court dismisses challenge to NRC’s low-level waste policy

May 7, 2021, 12:06PMRadwaste Solutions

A federal court has dismissed a claim by the Nuclear Energy Institute that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission had reversed decades of established policy by requiring owners and operators of nuclear power plants to obtain the agency’s approval to dispose of low-level radioactive waste, even in NRC Agreement States.

At issue was a letter the NRC sent to NEI in 2019, stating that licensees must receive agency approval before disposing of LLW. In response, NEI filed a lawsuit against the NRC, claiming that the letter imposes new obligations on licensees without the NRC’s having followed rulemaking procedures required by the Administrative Procedure Act, including publishing notice of the new policy and receiving input from stakeholders prior to implementation.

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Sen. Manchin urges Biden to preserve U.S. nuclear fleet

April 20, 2021, 3:00PMNuclear News

Manchin

Highlighting nuclear’s role in providing reliable power, reducing emissions, and addressing climate change, Sen. Joe Manchin (D., W.Va.) sent a letter to President Biden, urging him to support the continued operation of the United States’ civil nuclear fleet and prevent further plant closures. Manchin, chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, said that preventing the closure of existing nuclear power plants is critical to achieving emission reduction goals while ensuring a reliable grid.

Stanford scholars: Breaking U.S. nuclear waste stalemate could be key to Biden’s climate goals

April 7, 2021, 12:00PMANS Nuclear Cafe
Dry cask storage at the closed San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station in Southern California. Photo: Southern California Edison

Saying they are cautiously optimistic that the Biden administration can change the U.S. trajectory on nuclear waste, some Stanford University experts have offered their recommendations on how it can be done in a recent Stanford news posting.

ANS Task Force: Accelerating nuclear R&D investment is key to securing America’s clean energy future

February 17, 2021, 11:58AMNuclear News

The ANS Task Force on Public Investment in Nuclear Research and Development has just issued a report titled “The U.S. Nuclear R&D Imperative.” Visit ans.org/policy/rndreport/ to learn more and to read the report in its entirety.

The following article, originally published in the February 2021 issue of Nuclear News, describes the formation of the Task Force and the principles that guided its members as they developed specific nuclear R&D funding recommendations to ensure that a new generation of nuclear energy technologies is ready for deployment in 2030 and beyond.

Task force issues assessment of U.S. nuclear energy R&D funding for 2020s

February 17, 2021, 7:30AMPress Releases

La Grange Park, IL –A task force commissioned by the American Nuclear Society (ANS) issued an assessment of U.S. nuclear energy research and development funding needs for the 2020s. The study is a prospectus for appropriations as Congress and the Biden administration consider ways to support and expand America’s largest carbon-free energy technology, nuclear energy.

Columbia University report sets out nuclear waste policy options

February 1, 2021, 9:29AMRadwaste Solutions

A new report out of Columbia University’s Center on Global Energy Policy (CGEP) offers a number of recommendations for improving the management of spent nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste in the United States.

The report, Forging a Path Forward on U.S. Nuclear Waste Management: Options for Policy Makers, explains how the United States reached its current stalemate over nuclear waste disposal. It then examines productive approaches in other countries, and a few domestic ones, that could guide policymakers through options for improving the prospects for finding a disposal path for U.S. spent fuel and HLW.

Part of the center’s wider work on nuclear energy, the report echoes previous recommendations for U.S. spent fuel and HLW management, such as the use of a consent-based siting process and the formation of an independent waste management organization, both of which were recommended in the Blue Ribbon Commission’s 2012 report to the Secretary of Energy and Stanford University’s 2018 report, Reset of U.S. Nuclear Waste Management Strategy and Policy.

Nevada senators reiterate opposition to Yucca Mountain

November 11, 2020, 12:00PMNuclear News

Cortez Masto

Rosen

U.S. Sens. Catherine Cortez Masto (D., Nev.) and Jacky Rosen (D., Nev.) sent a letter to Sen. Lamar Alexander (R., Tenn.), chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee’s Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development, and ranking member Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D., Calif.) to reiterate their annual request that zero funds be appropriated to support licensing activities for the proposed Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository in fiscal year 2021.

Earlier this year, Cortez Masto along with a majority of Nevada’s congressional delegation, including Rosen, reintroduced the Nuclear Waste Informed Consent Act. The bill would require the secretary of energy to obtain the consent of affected state and local governments, as well as tribal leaders, before making expenditures from the Nuclear Waste Fund for a nuclear waste repository.

Yucca Mountain is not dead, Shimkus says

October 26, 2020, 9:30AMANS Nuclear Cafe

Shimkus

For more than two decades, one of the country’s biggest champions of the Yucca Mountain Project has been Rep. John Shimkus (R., Ill.), who is retiring from Congress this year. Shimkus spoke with E&E News about how he is not ready to give up on the Nevada repository in an article posted to the energy and environment news organization’s website on October 20.

“It’s never dead,” Shimkus said. “It’s the law of the land."

House bill would create spent fuel R&D program at the DOE

September 25, 2020, 9:29AMRadwaste Solutions

San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station, Units 1, 2 and 3. Photo: SoCal Edison

A bill introduced on September 21 by Rep. Mark Levine (D., Calif.) would direct the Department of Energy to conduct an advanced fuel cycle research, development, demonstration, and commercial application program. According to Levine, whose district includes the closed San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (SONGS), the Spent Nuclear Fuel Solutions Research and Development Act (H.R. 8258) is intended to foster innovation in the storage and disposal of spent nuclear fuel.

The program, which would be authorized at over $500 million over five years, would have the DOE investigate a variety of options for managing the storage, use, and disposal of spent fuel, including dry cask storage, consolidated interim storage, deep geological storage and disposal, and vitrification.

ANS backs NRC rulemaking on spent fuel reprocessing

June 1, 2020, 5:07PMANS News

Piercy

Nesbit

ANS Executive Director/CEO Craig Piercy sent a letter to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission on May 28 urging the agency to resume work on a proposed rulemaking to allow spent fuel reprocessing in the United States. As the letter explains, “the lack of an efficient, technically robust, and technology-inclusive regulatory foundation for reprocessing and recycling is a barrier to innovation.”

Steve Nesbit, who was recently elected ANS’s next vice president/president-elect, chairs the ANS Nuclear Waste Policy Task Force and helped develop the letter. ANS News staff talked with Nesbit about the development and goals of ANS’s participation in the NRC’s rulemaking process.