< Back to S. 2551 (110th Congress, 2007–2009)

Text of the Nuclear Waste Policy Amendments Act of 2008

This bill was introduced on January 24, 2008, in a previous session of Congress, but was not enacted. The text of the bill below is as of Jan 24, 2008 (Introduced).

Source: GPO

II

110th CONGRESS

2d Session

S. 2551

IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES

January 24, 2008

(for himself, Mr. Craig, Mr. DeMint, Mr. Barrasso, Mr. Bond, Mr. Alexander, and Mr. Crapo) introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on Environment and Public Works

A BILL

To provide for the safe development of a repository at the Yucca Mountain site in the State of Nevada, and for other purposes.

1.

Short title; table of contents

(a)

Short title

This Act may be cited as the Nuclear Waste Policy Amendments Act of 2008.

(b)

Table of contents

The table of contents of this Act is as follows:

Sec. 1. Short title; table of contents.

Sec. 2. Findings; purposes.

Sec. 3. Definitions.

TITLE I—Licensing

Sec. 101. Applications.

Sec. 102. Application procedures; infrastructure activities.

Sec. 103. Connected actions.

Sec. 104. Waste confidence.

Sec. 105. Definition of high-level radioactive waste.

TITLE II—Administration

Sec. 201. Air quality permits.

Sec. 202. Expedited authorizations.

Sec. 203. Applicability of law to certain materials.

Sec. 204. Authority for new standard contracts.

2.

Findings; purposes

(a)

Findings

Congress finds that—

(1)

progress toward the safe disposal of spent nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste will help ensure that the expanded use of nuclear energy will contribute to meeting the growing need of the United States for reliable, cost-effective energy;

(2)

the Federal Government has the responsibility to provide for permanent disposal of spent nuclear fuel, high-level radioactive waste, and waste generated from United States atomic energy defense activities;

(3)

the obligation of the Federal Government to develop a repository provides sufficient grounds for findings by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission that spent nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste will be disposed of safely and in a timely manner;

(4)

the electricity consumers and nuclear power plant operators of the United States have paid in excess of $27,000,000,000 in fees and interest to fund disposal of spent nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste;

(5)

the National Research Council of the National Academy of Sciences—

(A)

since 1957, has endorsed the concept of deep geologic disposal of high-level radioactive waste as a long-term solution based on scientific and technical analysis; and

(B)

maintains that deep geologic disposal remains as the only long-term solution available for the disposal of high-level radioactive waste;

(6)

in 2002, the Yucca Mountain site was recommended by the President and approved by Congress for development as a deep geologic repository;

(7)

operation of a repository in accordance with the Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1982 (42 U.S.C. 10101 et seq.) is nearly 20 years behind schedule;

(8)

the delay has—

(A)

resulted in judicial findings of a partial breach of contract on the part of the Federal Government; and

(B)

subjected taxpayers to billions of dollars in liability;

(9)

the Commission should allow the upgrade of non-nuclear infrastructure at the repository site prior to construction in an effort to accelerate progress and reduce taxpayer liability;

(10)

the repository should be licensed to safely use the maximum potential capacity of the repository, based on scientific and technical considerations; and

(11)

the development of the repository should incorporate technological advances to improve protection of public health and safety and the environment on a regular basis while retaining the option of retrieval.

(b)

Purposes

The purposes of this Act are—

(1)

to encourage the expanded contribution of nuclear energy to meet the growing need of the United States for safe, reliable, and cost-effective energy;

(2)

to provide a process for the expeditious and safe development and operation of a repository at the Yucca Mountain site;

(3)

to require periodic system improvements based on advances in technology and understanding to enhance the protection of public health and safety and the environment;

(4)

to clarify the authority of the Secretary to carry out infrastructure activities without prejudicing the consideration of the Commission with respect to repository applications; and

(5)

to provide guidance to the Commission with respect to the consideration by the Commission of spent nuclear fuel and high-level waste disposal during new reactor licensing proceedings.

3.

Definitions

In this Act:

(1)

Commission

The term Commission means the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

(2)

Repository

The term repository has the meaning given the term in section 2 of the Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1982 (42 U.S.C. 10101).

(3)

Secretary

The term Secretary means the Secretary of Energy.

I

Licensing

101.

Applications

Section 114(b) of the Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1982 (42 U.S.C. 10134(b)) is amended—

(1)

in the subsection heading, by striking application and inserting applications;

(2)

by striking If the President and inserting the following:

(1)

In general

If the President

; and

(3)

by adding at the end the following:

(2)

Application processes

(A)

In general

The Secretary shall submit, and the Commission shall review, each application described in this paragraph.

(B)

Application for a construction authorization

(i)

Required information

An application for a construction authorization for a repository at a site shall contain provisions—

(I)

for the establishment of, and preliminary information relating to, a continuing program, including underground repository surveillance, measurement, and testing and research and development of technologies that may improve the safety or operation of the repository—

(aa)

to be carried out during the operation of the repository; and

(bb)

to monitor, evaluate, and confirm repository performance; and

(II)

for the development of a strategy to ensure the ability of the repository to retrieve, for a period of not less than 300 years beginning on the date on which the repository first commences operation, each quantity of spent nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste stored at the repository.

(ii)

Authorized information

An application for a construction authorization shall not be required to contain any information—

(I)

relating to any surface facility other than any surface facility determined by the Secretary to be necessary for the initial operation of the repository; and

(II)

that is required under subparagraph (D) for an application relating to the permanent closure of the repository.

(C)

Application to amend a construction authorization to receive and possess spent nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste

(i)

Required information

An application to amend a construction authorization to receive and possess spent nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste at a repository shall contain provisions for the establishment of, and final information relating to—

(I)

a continuing program, including underground repository surveillance, measurement, and testing, and research and development of technologies that may improve the safety or operation of the repository—

(aa)

to be carried out during the operation of the repository; and

(bb)

to monitor, evaluate, and confirm repository performance;

(II)

a procedure to provide for periodic revisions of the license of the repository that shall be conducted—

(aa)

to modify the license based on the results of the program described in subclause (I); and

(bb)

at intervals of not more than 50 years; and

(III)

a program to ensure the ability of the repository to retrieve, for a period of not less than 300 years beginning on the date on which the repository first commences operation, each quantity of spent nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste stored at the repository.

(ii)

Authorized information

An application to amend a construction authorization for permission to receive and possess spent nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste shall not be required to contain—

(I)

any information that was included in an application or considered by the Commission in connection with the issuance of a construction authorization for the repository for which authorization to receive and possess the spent nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste is sought; or

(II)

any information that is required under subparagraph (D) for an application relating to the permanent closure of the repository.

(iii)

Requirements relating to authorization

If the Commission approves an application to amend a construction authorization to receive and possess spent nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste, the Commission shall impose such requirements relating to the program, periodic amendment, and retrievability as the Commission determines to be appropriate.

(D)

Application to permanently close repository

(i)

Authority of Secretary

The Secretary may submit to the Commission an application to permanently close the repository.

(ii)

Contents

An application to permanently close the repository shall contain information that is sufficient to demonstrate to the Commission that there is a reasonable expectation that the health and safety of the public will be adequately protected from any release generated by any radioactive material disposed of in the repository in accordance with each standard promulgated pursuant to section 801 of the Energy Policy Act of 1992 (42 U.S.C. 10141 note; Public Law 102–486).

.

102.

Application procedures; infrastructure activities

Section 114 of the Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1982 (42 U.S.C. 10134) is amended by striking subsection (d) and inserting the following:

(d)

Commission action

(1)

Review of regulations

The Commission shall review and modify each applicable regulation promulgated by the Commission as determined to be necessary by the Commission to ensure that each application described in subsection (b)(2) contains sufficient information for the Commission to determine whether the repository could be operated for a period of not less than 300 years beginning on the date on which the repository first commences operation.

(2)

Approval process relating to application for construction authorization

(A)

Application deadline

Not later than June 30, 2008, the Secretary shall submit to the Commission an application for a construction authorization for a repository site.

(B)

Consideration

The Commission shall consider the application for a construction authorization in accordance with the informal hearing process described in subpart L of part 2 of chapter 1 of title 10, Code of Federal Regulations (as in effect on January 1, 2006).

(C)

Authorization of construction

Upon review and consideration of an application for a construction authorization, the Commission shall approve the application if the Commission determines that there is a reasonable expectation that the health and safety of the public will be adequately protected for a period of not less than 300 years beginning on the date on which the repository first commences operation.

(D)

Final decision deadline

(i)

In general

Except as provided in clause (ii), not later than 3 years after the date on which the Secretary submits to the Commission an application for a construction authorization under subparagraph (A), the Commission shall carry out all activities relating to the consideration of an application for all or part of a repository, including—

(I)

a sufficiency review and docketing of the application;

(II)

the completion of safety and environmental reviews;

(III)

the conduct of hearings; and

(IV)

the issuance of a final decision approving or disapproving the issuance of a construction authorization.

(ii)

Exception

The Commission may extend the deadline described in clause (i) by a period of not more than 1 year if, not less than 30 days before the date on which the deadline occurs, the Commission complies with each reporting requirement described in subsection (e)(2).

(E)

Administration

In carrying out the actions required by this section, the Commission shall—

(i)

issue such partial initial decisions as the Commission determines to be appropriate to expedite the review of applications described in subparagraph (A); and

(ii)

consider each application, in whole or in part, in accordance with law applicable to the application.

(3)

Approval process relating to application to amend a construction authorization to receive and possess spent nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste

(A)

Submission of application

If the Commission approves an application for a construction authorization under paragraph (2), not later than 90 days after the effective date of the construction authorization, the Secretary shall submit to the Commission an application to amend the construction authorization to receive and possess spent nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste.

(B)

Consideration

(i)

In general

The Commission shall consider an application to amend a construction authorization to receive and possess spent nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste in accordance with—

(I)

the informal hearing process described in subpart L of part 2 of chapter 1 of title 10, Code of Federal Regulations (as in effect on January 1, 2006); and

(II)

discovery procedures to minimize the burden of each party of submitting to the Commission documents that the Commission determines are not necessary for the Commission to approve the application for an authorization to receive and possess spent nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste.

(ii)

Matters resolved during approval of construction authorization

In considering an application to amend a construction authorization to receive and possess spent nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste under clause (i), the Commission shall consider to be resolved each matter resolved during the consideration by the Commission of the construction authorization that is the subject of the application.

(C)

Permission to receive and possess spent nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste

Upon review and consideration of an application to amend a construction authorization to receive and possess spent nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste, the Commission shall approve the application if the Commission determines that there is a reasonable expectation that the health and safety of the public will be adequately protected for a period of not less than 300 years beginning on the date on which the repository first commences operation.

(D)

Final decision deadline

(i)

In general

Except as provided in clause (ii), not later than 540 days after the date on which the Secretary submits to the Commission an application to amend a construction authorization to receive and possess spent nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste under subparagraph (A), the Commission shall issue a final decision approving or disapproving the issuance of a license to receive and possess spent nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste.

(ii)

Exception

The Commission may extend the deadline described in clause (i) by a period of not more than 180 days if, not less than 30 days before the date on which the deadline occurs, the Commission complies with each reporting requirement described in subsection (e)(2).

(4)

Review of regulations relating to applications for permanent closure

To conform the application process for the permanent closure of the repository with the requirements of this Act, the Commission shall review and modify each regulation promulgated by the Commission relating to the application process for the permanent closure of a repository.

(5)

Infrastructure activities

(A)

Authority of Secretary

At any time before or after the Commission issues a final decision on an application for a construction authorization under paragraph (2), the Secretary may carry out infrastructure activities that the Secretary determines to be necessary or appropriate to support the construction of a repository at the Yucca Mountain site or transportation to the Yucca Mountain site of spent nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste, including—

(i)

safety upgrades;

(ii)

site preparation activities;

(iii)

the construction of—

(I)

a rail line to connect the Yucca Mountain site with the national rail network; and

(II)

any facility necessary for the operation of the rail line described in subclause (I); and

(iv)

the construction, upgrade, acquisition, or operation of—

(I)

electrical grids or facilities;

(II)

related utilities;

(III)

communication facilities;

(IV)

access roads;

(V)

rail lines; and

(VI)

nonnuclear support facilities.

(B)

Compliance

(i)

In general

Subject to clause (ii), in carrying out any infrastructure activity under subparagraph (A), the Secretary shall comply with each applicable requirement under the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.).

(ii)

Authority of Secretary

If the Secretary determines that an environmental impact statement, environmental assessment, or other environmental analysis required under the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.) is required in carrying out an infrastructure activity under subparagraph (A), the Secretary shall not be required to consider in that statement, assessment, or analysis—

(I)

the need for the action;

(II)

any alternative action; or

(III)

any no-action alternative.

(iii)

Other Federal agencies

(I)

In general

If a Federal agency is required to consider the potential environmental impact of an infrastructure activity carried out under subparagraph (A), the Federal agency shall, without further action, adopt, to the maximum extent practicable, any environmental impact statement, environmental assessment, or other environmental analysis prepared by the Secretary.

(II)

Effect of adoption of statement

The adoption by a Federal agency of an environmental impact statement, environmental assessment, or other environmental analysis under subclause (I) shall satisfy each applicable responsibility of the Federal agency relating to the applicable infrastructure activity of the Federal agency under the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.).

(C)

Consideration by Commission

The Commission shall not consider the fact that the Secretary has undertaken an infrastructure activity under this paragraph as a factor in determining whether to approve, deny, or condition an application—

(i)

for a construction authorization;

(ii)

to amend a construction authorization to receive and possess spent nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste; or

(iii)

for any other action relating to the repository.

(6)

Procedures

In reviewing applications under this subsection, the Commission shall use procedures that ensure the transparent review and resolution of key scientific and technical issues in a timely manner.

.

103.

Connected actions

Section 114(f)(6) of the Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1982 (42 U.S.C. 10134(f)(6)) is amended—

(1)

by striking site, or and inserting site,; and

(2)

by inserting before the period at the end the following: , or any action related to construction or operation of a rail transport system for transporting spent nuclear fuel or high-level radioactive waste to the repository.

104.

Waste confidence

For purposes of a determination by the Commission on whether to grant, amend, or renew any license to construct or operate any civilian nuclear power reactor or high-level radioactive waste or spent fuel storage or treatment facility under the Atomic Energy Act of 1954 (42 U.S.C. 2011 et seq.)—

(1)

the obligation of the Secretary to develop a repository in accordance with the Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1982 (42 U.S.C. 10101 et seq.) shall provide sufficient and independent grounds for any further findings by the Commission of reasonable assurances that spent nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste would be disposed of safely and in a timely manner; and

(2)

no consideration of the environmental impact of the storage of spent nuclear fuel or high-level radioactive waste on the site of the civilian nuclear power reactor or high-level radioactive waste or spent fuel storage or treatment facility under the Atomic Energy Act of 1954 (42 U.S.C. 2011 et seq.), for the period following the term of the license for the facility, shall be required in any environmental impact statement, environmental assessment, environmental analysis, or other analysis prepared in connection with the issuance, amendment or renewal of a license to construct or operate the facility.

105.

Definition of high-level radioactive waste

Section 2 of the Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1982 (42 U.S.C. 10101) is amended by striking paragraph (12) and inserting the following:

(12)

High-level radioactive waste

The term high-level radioactive waste means—

(A)

the highly radioactive material resulting from the reprocessing in the United States of spent nuclear fuel, including liquid waste produced directly in reprocessing and any solid material derived from such liquid waste that contains fission products in sufficient concentrations;

(B)

the highly radioactive material described in section 3(b)(1)(D) of the Low-Level Radioactive Waste Policy Act (42 U.S.C. 2021c(b)(1)(D) resulting from the operation of facilities licensed under section 103 or 104 of the Atomic Energy Act of 1954 (42 U.S.C. 2133, 2134); and

(C)

any other highly radioactive material that the Commission, consistent with law, may determine by rule requires permanent isolation.

.

II

Administration

201.

Air quality permits

Section 114 of the Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1982 (42 U.S.C. 10134) is amended by adding at the end the following:

(g)

Air quality

(1)

In general

The Administrator shall issue, administer, and enforce any air quality permit or requirement applicable to any facility under the jurisdiction of, or any activity carried out by, a Federal agency that is subject to the requirements of this Act.

(2)

Preemption of State laws

No State or political subdivision of a State may issue, administer, or enforce any air quality permit or requirement applicable to any facility under the jurisdiction of, or any activity carried out by, a Federal agency that is subject to the requirements of this Act.

.

202.

Expedited authorizations

Section 120 of the Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1982 (42 U.S.C. 10140) is amended—

(1)

in subsection (a)(1)—

(A)

in the first sentence, by inserting , or the conduct of an infrastructure activity, after repository;

(B)

by inserting , State, local, or tribal after Federal each place it appears; and

(C)

in the second sentence, by striking repositories and inserting a repository or infrastructure activity;

(2)

in subsection (b), by striking , and may include terms and conditions permitted by law; and

(3)

by adding at the end the following:

(c)

Failure To grant authorization

An agency or officer that fails to grant authorization by the date that is 1 year after the date of receipt of an application or request from the Secretary subject to subsection (a) shall submit to Congress a written report that explains the reason for the failure to grant the authorization (or to reject the application or request) by that date.

(d)

Treatment of actions

For the purpose of applying any Federal, State, local, or tribal law or requirement, the taking of an action relating to a repository or an infrastructure activity shall be considered to be—

(1)

beneficial, and not detrimental, to the public interest and interstate commerce; and

(2)

consistent with the public convenience and necessity.

.

203.

Applicability of law to certain materials

Subtitle A of title I of the Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1982 (42 U.S.C. 10131 et seq.) is amended by adding at the end the following:

126.

Applicability of law to certain materials

Section 6001(a) of the Solid Waste Disposal Act (42 U.S.C. 6961(a)) shall not apply to—

(1)

any material, the title of which is in the possession of the Secretary, if the material is transported or stored in a package, cask, or other container that the Commission has certified for transportation or storage of that type of material; or

(2)

any material located at the Yucca Mountain site for disposal if the management and disposal of the material is managed or disposed of in accordance with a license issued by the Commission.

.

204.

Authority for new standard contracts

Section 302(a)(5) of the Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1982 (42 U.S.C. 10222(a)(5)) is amended—

(1)

by redesignating subparagraphs (A) and (B) as clauses (i) and (ii), respectively, and indenting appropriately;

(2)

by striking (5) Contracts and inserting the following:

(5)

Requirements relating to contracts

(A)

In general

Subject to subparagraph (B), a contract

; and

(3)

by adding at the end the following:

(B)

Civilian nuclear power reactors

After the date of enactment of the Nuclear Waste Policy Amendments Act of 2008, for any civilian nuclear power reactor for which a license application is filed with the Commission in accordance with section 103 or 104 of the Atomic Energy Act of 1954 (42 U.S.C. 2133, 2134), a contract under this section shall—

(i)

not later than 60 days after the date on which the Commission dockets the license application, be entered into by the Secretary;

(ii)

be consistent with the standard contract for disposal of spent nuclear fuel and/or high-level radioactive waste described in section 961.11 of title 10, Code of Federal Regulations (as in effect on January 1, 2006);

(iii)

require that not later than 35 years after the date on which the civilian nuclear power reactor first commences commercial operation, the Secretary take title to, transport, and dispose of the spent nuclear fuel or high-level radioactive waste of the civilian nuclear power reactor; and

(iv)

not contain any provision that provides for the adjustment of the 1.0 mil per kilowatt-hour fee established by paragraph (2).

.