Library of Congress Summary
The summary below was written by the Congressional Research Service, which is a nonpartisan division of the Library of Congress.
12/15/1981--Reported to House amended.
(Reported to House from the Committee on Science and Technology with amendment, H. Rept. 97-411) High-Level Radioactive Waste Management and Policy Act - States that this Act shall not apply to the siting, construction, or operation of repositories used exclusively for the disposal of radioactive waste or spent fuel from the atomic energy defense activities of the Secretary of Energy. Requires the Secretary to prepare a comprehensive mission plan which will provide an informational basis for decisionmaking with respect to the siting, construction, and operation of repositories for the disposal of radioactive waste and spent fuel and the research, development, and demonstration programs required under this Act. Specifies the information to be included in such plan.
Directs the Secretary to submit, within a specified time, a draft mission plan to the appropriate States, appropriate Indian tribes, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), and other Federal agencies for comments.
Requires that the plan and the comments be available for public inspection and that a statement of reasons be published in the Federal Register if the Secretary does not revise the plan to meet any objections raised.
Directs the Secretary to submit the plan to appropriate congressional committees within a specified time.
Makes the plan effective at the end of the 30-day period following transmittal of the plan.
Requires annual reports on the implementation of the plan, including any revisions.
Directs the Secretary to complete a final programmatic environmental impact statement on the management of radioactive waste and spent fuel from civilian nuclear activities within 12 months after the enactment of this Act. Requires the Secretary, in consultation with specified Federal agencies, to issue repository site selection guidelines within six months of enactment of this Act. Directs the Secretary to identify three or more potential repository sites in different geologic media within one year after enactment of this Act. Sets forth criteria for the location of such sites in addition to the guidelines issued by the Secretary. Requires notification of the Governor of a State in which a site is located or of the Indian tribe on whose reservation a site is located.
Requires the completion of siting research activities for at least three of the potential repository sites within 42 months after the sites have been identified.
Requires that the Secretary be able to select a site for the expanded siting research activities pursuant to this Act within 30 months after the site identifications.
Requires that within six months of the site identifications, and before beginning siting research activities, the Secretary hold public meetings near each site on the activities to be conducted there and prepare an environmental assessment of the nonradiological impacts of the siting research activities.
Sets forth restrictions on the use of radioactive material at such sites.
Requires at least one legislative-type public hearing near a site before repository site selection and within three months after completion of siting research activities by the Secretary. Directs the Secretary to notify the Governor of the State in which a site is located or the appropriate Indian tribe if the Secretary selects such site for a repository.
Requires submission of a Repository Development Report by the President to Congress. Requires submission of a subsequent Repository Development Report for another site if the Secretary's first selection is disapproved by Congress or the President. Directs the Secretary to apply to the NRC for a license for a repository at an approved site within 30 days after the site selection becomes effective and to provide the appropriate Governor or Indian tribe with a copy of the application.
Requires the NRC to submit annual licensing status reports to Congress until an operating license is issued.
Requires the NRC to make a final decision on the issuance of construction authorization within 24 months after the submission of the application.
Permits an extension of the period for such final decision under certain circumstances.
Requires the Secretary to select another repository site if the NRC disapproves an application.
Sets forth the procedural requirements for NRC hearings on construction authorization and repository license applications.
Requires that within six years after the Secretary obtains a construction authorization:
(1) the Secretary complete construction of facilities needed to initiate emplacement of waste;
(2) the Secretary operate the repository as soon as practicable after receiving an operating license; and
(3) the NRC approve or disapprove an operating license for all or part of a repository.
Authorizes the Secretary to petition the NRC any time after filing a license application for a construction authorization, license, or license amendment on an interim basis before the completion of a required hearing on the application.
Directs the NRC to grant the petition if all legal requirements other than the required hearing are met and there will be adequate protection to the public health and safety.
Prohibits the disposal of waste or spent fuel in a repository for which an interim license has been issued until the regular license to receive and possess waste in the repository has been issued.
Requires the NRC to promulgate rules and criteria to apply in the review of all repository license applications within six months after the enactment of this Act. Authorizes the Secretary to take title to the radioactive material emplaced in a repository.
Grants to the State or Indian tribe notified of a site identification under this Act the immediate and continuing right to participate in a process of consultation and concurrence (including written agreements with the Secretary) whereby:
(1) the Secretary keeps the Governor or appropriate Indian tribe informed about economic or public health and safety impacts in all stages of the establishment of a repository and receives, and works to resolve, objections of the Governor or Indian tribe; and
(2) the State may independently and reasonably monitor on-site activities.
Requires the Secretary to submit to the President, within six months after completing hearings a Repository Development Report containing:
(1) an environmental impact statement for the site selected;
(2) the views and comments of the Governor of the affected State, the appropriate Indian tribe, the Governor of any other interested and affected State, the public, and appropriate Federal agencies and the Secretary's responses;
(3) the repository license application to be submitted to the NRC; and
(4) a plan for transporting the radioactive materials to the repository.
Provides for presidential approval or disapproval of the site selection within 30 days after submission of the report.
Requires notice to Congress of the President's decision.
Makes a site selection effective 30 days after the President transmits approval to Congress unless the Governor of the affected State or the appropriate Indian tribe submits a petition for disapproval to Congress. Provides that if the President approves a site selection and the Governor or the Indian tribe submits a petition for disapproval, the site selection shall be effective 40 days of continuous session of Congress after submission of the petition unless either House of Congress passes a resolution approving such petition.
Requires Federal agencies to assist the Secretary in the preparation of reports required by this Act. States that Federal agency action taken before a site selection becomes effective shall not be considered a major Federal action for purposes of the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969.
Directs the Secretary and heads of all Federal agencies to avoid duplication of effort in the preparation of reports pursuant to such Act. Requires the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency to promulgate general standards to protect the environment from radioactive material in repositories.
Requires the Secretary to establish a Project Decision Schedule which shall constitute the lawful decisionmaking deadlines for Federal agencies involved in the establishment of a repository.
Sets forth procedural requirements for agencies which cannot comply with the schedule.
Requires the Secretary to begin, within 64 months after enactment of this Act, the mining and construction of a Test and Evaluation Facility for research on, and demonstration of, the technology for radioactive waste disposal in a repository.
Sets forth design requirements for the facility.
Requires the Secretary to begin within 88 months after enactment of this Act, an in situ testing program of research and development activities with respect to radioactive waste disposal to support the repository program.
Sets forth limitations on the use, and the termination date, of the facility.
Requires that the system of engineered barriers and selected geology have the design life required by NRC regulations for repositories.
Directs the Secretary to enter into written agreements with the NRC and the Governor of the State in which the Test and Evaluation Facility site is located, or the appropriate Indian tribe to establish consultative and cooperative roles in the construction and operation of the facility.
Requires the Secretary to report to the appropriate congressional committees on the status of such agreements.
Requires the Secretary to prepare an environmental assessment before excavating major shafts for the facility and an environmental impact statement before conducting tests with radioactive materials.
Requires the NRC to carry out a continuing analysis of activities with respect to the facility to evaluate the adequacy of attention to public health and safety considerations.
Directs the NRC to report to the President, the Secretary, and the Congress on such activities.
Provides for the establishment of a demonstration program, in cooperation with the private sector, for the dry storage of spent fuel at nuclear powerplant sites.
Directs the Secretary to select between one and three candidate sites at nuclear powerplants and enter into cooperative agreements with the utilities to carry out demonstration projects using alternate dry storage technologies.
Requires the Secretary to undertake a cooperative program with utilities to encourage the development of the technology for spent fuel rod consolidation in existing reactor water storage basins.
Limits the total contribution to the demonstration program by the Secretary from appropriated funds and Federal services and facilities to 25 percent of the estimated total costs of the program.
Provides for the remaining costs to be paid by the utilities involved or from the nuclear waste fund established by this Act. Provides for the Secretary to make specified payments to each State or Indian tribe which has entered into written agreements with respect to the consultation and concurrence process if the State agrees to provide a specified percentage of such payments to the local government which has jurisdiction over the repository site.
Grants the State or Indian tribe discretion to use the payments for whatever purpose it deems necessary under the repository program.
Grants to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia original and exclusive jurisdiction over civil actions for review of Federal agency action under this Act and over civil actions challenging the constitutionality of actions taken under this Act. Provides that the Supreme Court shall have exclusive authority to review interlocutory judgments or orders of the Court of Appeals pursuant to this Act. Authorizes the Secretary to enter into contracts with individuals for radioactive waste and spent fuel disposal services.
Prohibits the NRC from issuing a license to any person to use a utilization or production facility unless such person has contracted, or is negotiating a contract, with the Secretary for such services.
Authorizes the NRC to require such an agreement as a precondition to the issuance of a license or license amendment under the Atomic Energy Act of 1954.
Establishes in the U.S. Treasury a nuclear waste fund to be used by the Secretary in carrying out this Act.