Matsui Floor Speech on Nuclear Waste Policy Amendments Act

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Washington, May 9, 2018 | comments

Washington, D.C.Today, Congresswoman Doris Matsui (CA-06) delivered the following floor remarks in support of the Nuclear Waste Policy Amendments Act of 2018:

I rise today in support of the Nuclear Waste Policy Amendments Act.

We worked in a bipartisan manner in the Energy & Commerce Committee to ensure there was language in this bill that provides a responsible path forward for consolidated interim storage.

When this bill was first presented in committee, the licensing of an interim storage facility was linked to a final decision on Yucca Mountain.

As someone who is critical of Yucca Mountain and its chances of ever being completed, I found that to be unacceptable. It meant that our nation’s nuclear waste could continue to be stranded at decommissioned plants in California and across the country. That is not sustainable.

However, through bipartisan negotiations we were able to successfully agree on language that creates a separate path to interim storage, decoupling it from a permanent repository.

That is the primary reason why I am supporting the bill today.

This is an issue that directly impacts my constituents and many others across the country.

My local utility, the Sacramento Municipal Utility District – or as we call it SMUD, currently maintains the decommissioned Rancho Seco nuclear power plant.

SMUD has reiterated how important it is for the redevelopment of the site that we have a plan for consolidating spent fuel at a safe, licensed facility. 

Moving spent fuel will enable SMUD to expand their adjacent solar development or environmental mitigation area.

Consolidated interim storage is currently the most viable solution to our nation’s spent fuel challenge and there are private applicants that want to take this fuel. Today’s bill strengthens the regulatory pathway that allows them to do so.

This bill also funds transportation safety, ensuring that we build on our country’s decades-long history of safely moving spent fuel. 

While I don’t believe every provision of H.R. 3053 is ideal, it is a balanced step in the right direction and that is why I will vote yes for this legislation.

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