Matsui Introduces the STORE Nuclear Fuel Act

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Washington, D.C., June 6, 2019 | Kyle Morse (202-557-4880) | comments

View the bill summary here

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Congresswoman Doris Matsui (CA-6) introduced H.R. 3136, the Storage and Transportation of Residual and Excess (STORE) Nuclear Fuel Act. This bill creates a legislative framework to initiate a consolidated interim storage program at the Department of Energy. It allows for both active and decommissioned nuclear power plants, with priority given to decommissioned plants, to move spent nuclear fuel to interim storage facilities. 

“The current nuclear storage reality is not sustainable. Keeping spent fuel at decommissioned plants is unfair to communities across the country who never signed up to play host to dangerous radioactive waste for decades,” said Congresswoman Matsui, a senior member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. “Because efforts to build a permanent repository remain stalled, we need to advance a solution that allows local utilities, like SMUD in Sacramento, to move the waste to an interim storage facility and give communities across the country the opportunity to reimagine these sites. Given the current political climate, the STORE Nuclear Fuel Act is a responsible and balanced solution that will positively impact communities across the country right now. I look forward to working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to swiftly move this critically important legislation.” 

“For decades, SMUD has been working to find a way to remove legacy waste from the Rancho Seco site. While the storage at Rancho Seco is safe and secure, SMUD customers should not have to bear the storage cost burden,” said Arlen Orchard, SMUD General Manager and CEO. “The federal government made a commitment years ago to accept and store spent fuel and it’s important to SMUD customers and the community that the government fulfills the commitment and SMUD is optimistic that Congresswoman Matsui’s proposed bill creates a path to get there. We are grateful for Rep. Matsui's leadership on this critical issue."

The Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) – Sacramento’s public utility – stores spent nuclear fuel at the site of Rancho Seco Nuclear Generating Station, which SMUD operated until 1989. SMUD spends approximately $5 million annually maintaining the spent fuel, but the federal government has a statutory responsibility to store the material. Matsui’s legislation would, if enacted and exercised by the Secretary of Energy, provide a path to move spent nuclear fuel and lead to the elimination of these costs. Currently, SMUD must periodically recover federal funding through lawsuits to reimburse its storage costs.

Bill text can be found here, and a summary of the STORE Nuclear Fuel Act can be found here

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