From Congressman William Keating:
Washington, DC – Today, the US House of Representatives passed HR 3053, the Nuclear Waste Policy Amendments Act of 2018, which addressed nuclear waste storage in the country. Included in the final bill was a Keating Amendment to increase transparency around the Nuclear Waste Fund.
Also included in the bill was a critical component for Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station (Pilgrim) that prioritizes the removal of spent fuel among decommissioned and older plants. This means Pilgrim will be prioritized to have its waste removed once decommissioning begins next year.
‘This is great news for the residents of Plymouth and the surrounding communities,” said Congressman Keating. “With decommissioning starting next year, Pilgrim will be prioritized to have its waste removed. It means a safer process at a quicker pace, which is exactly what our residents deserve.”
The legislation passed the House with bipartisan support.
The Department of Energy (DOE) is required to issue a public report on the financials of the Nuclear Waste Fund. Congress created the Nuclear Waste Fund to fund a solution to civilian nuclear waste that would provide for safe disposal in a permanent repository. The money in the Nuclear Waste Fund, which had $31 billion on hand in 2014, was amassed from a nominal fee on those who receive their energy from nuclear sites. Those fees stopped being collected in 2014, but the account still accrues interest.
Starting at the beginning of the Trump Administration, DOE stopped issuing plain language summaries to accompany the Nuclear Waste Fund’s financial reports. This meant that it became more difficult for non-experts to easily understand how these funds were being managed. Bill’s amendment requires additional transparency around this fund by directing DOE to include an easily understood summary of the financials of the Nuclear Waste Fund with each annual report.
“The funds in the Nuclear Waste Fund came from fees paid by ratepayers – fees that have generated tens of billions of dollars to support a solution for dealing with nuclear waste in a safe and secure manner,” said Congressman Keating. “The American people deserve to know how this fund is managed and that any expenditure is necessary, justified, and publicly reported. For this, transparency is key and we should be making it as easy as possible for the public and their elected officials to oversee this fund. The Keating Amendment requires a clear summary to accompany annual reporting on the Nuclear Waste Fund’s financial status. The information about the fund should not only be accessible to those who can understand the technical information contained in the full report. When communities like mine are working as hard as they are to make sure they can keep their families safe, we should be making every possible tool available to achieve this goal.”