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Press Releases

With Issa Leadership, House Advances Nuclear Waste Bill to Clean Up San Onofre

Press Release
Jun 28, 2017
Congressman Darrell Issa (R-Vista) released the following statement after the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Energy and Commerce approved legislation which paves a new path forward for the safe storage of the nation’s nuclear waste.
 
The Nuclear Waste Policy Amendments Act of 2017 (H.R. 3053), includes key components that would allow nuclear waste from the San Onofre Nuclear Generation Station (SONGS) to be moved out of our community.
 
Under a bipartisan compromise added to the legislation, the long-awaited permanent nuclear storage facility at Yucca Mountain can move forward and the Department of Energy would be authorized to open a temporary, “interim” site where nuclear waste from shuttered facilities (like SONGS) could be moved and safely stored while the Yucca repository is completed.

Congressman Issa has long been fighting to approve interim storage to ensure nuclear waste can be moved out of our communities as soon as possible.
 
“The move today makes clear that the last 30 years of obstruction over any and every plan to get nuclear waste out of our communities is over,” said Congressman Darrell Issa. “For years, I have been fighting to ensure the federal government upholds its end of the deal and takes the nuclear waste from SONGS and places it into the safe storage site the ratepayers are owed and have paid for. Today, I’m glad to see these hard-fought efforts are beginning to pay off.”

"The compromise language agreed to today will ensure not only that the long-term, permanent storage site at Yucca finally gets completed, but also ensures that temporary sites will be opened so that waste from facilities like SONGS in my district can be moved out of our backyard as soon as possible. I thank Chairman Walden and Representatives Shimkus, Upton, Barton, Matsui and others for coming together with us all on this very important piece of legislation and look forward to its quick passage by the House and our colleagues in the Senate as soon as possible."


During the committee hearing, Chairman Walden commended all the work Congressman Issa and others have done to "thread the needle through a very narrow eye to get us to this point" and for being "very involved" in the process to make this bill a reality. Video from the hearing here.

BACKGROUND:
 
Congressman Issa has been championing legislation he introduced – the Interim Consolidated Storage Act (H.R. 474) – which would authorize interim nuclear storage sites, like those included in the Nuclear Waste Policy Amendments Act of 2017.

The legislation approved today,
  • Provides $50 million or 10% of the appropriated amounts from the Nuclear Waste Fund to provide interim storage facilities for fiscal years 2020-2025
  • Allows the Energy Secretary to enter into an agreement for interim storage of nuclear waste when the NRC’s decision on Yucca Mountain is “imminent” and allows an interim storage agreement to move forward even if a final decision on Yucca Mountain is ultimately denied
  • Ensures DOE upholds its responsibility to take ownership of spent fuel and for transportation to a storage facility
  • Prioritizes removing waste from shuttered plants, like SONGS
  • Clarifies regulatory and permitting requirements related to the development of a permanent repository at Yucca
Interim storage is supported by local governments and leaders as an important part of getting the nuclear material from San Onofre moved out of our community. Local groups including the City of Encinitas, the San Diego County Board of Supervisors, the Orange County Board of Supervisors, the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce, and the Mayors of OceansideHuntington BeachLaguna BeachSan Clemente and Seal Beach through the Concerned Coastal Communities Coalition and the Angeles Chapter of the Sierra Club, have expressed their support for this important legislation.

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