House committee hearing considers nuclear waste legislation

April 26, 2017

The House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Environment held a hearing on April 26 to examine a discussion draft of a bill that would amend certain provisions of the Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1982 (NWPA) to streamline management and licensing processes for nuclear waste disposal.

The Nuclear Waste Policy Amendments Act of 2017 proposes a number of changes to the NWPA, including the addition of options to enter into cooperative agreements with respect to monitored retrievable storage facilities. It would revoke Public Land Order 6802, which directs the Department of Energy (DOE) to maintain the physical integrity of the subsurface environment at Yucca Mountain, Nevada, to ensure that scientific studies for site characterization are not adversely impacted. It would withdraw approximately 147,000 acres of land at Yucca Mountain site from all forms of entry, appropriation, and disposal under the previous public land laws, and reserves the withdrawal area for activities associated with the disposal of high-level radioactive waste and spent nuclear fuel. The bill also would direct the Secretary of the Interior to submit a management plan for use of the withdrawal area, providing that the Secretary permit non-project related uses that the Secretary considers appropriate, including domestic livestock grazing and hunting.

Sources: Library of Congress, U.S. House of Representatives