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Nuclear Fisticuffs: Senate Panel and DOE Go Around on Waste Storage

Fortnightly Magazine - February 15 1996

also exempt the repository from most federal, state, and local laws. The bill leaves funding in place, but requires that it first be used for interim storage.

H.R. 1020, Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1995

[Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI)] Calls for an interim facility to be developed along with a permanent facility. Funding of both would cost more than $400 million in fiscal 1996. The Act would replace the Nuclear Waste Fee with a "user fee," spent as it is paid in. DOE could collect more than the current one-tenth of a cent per kilowatt hour, as long as it doesn't collect more than that average over 14 years. (The Congressional Budget Office has ruled that the program could cost more than DOE could collect through the user fee, so the bill is subject to a point of order on the House floor, unless the House Rules Committee grants a waiver.)

S. 167, Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1998

[Sen. J. Bennett Johnston (D-LA)] Calls for DOE to store spent fuel as early as possible, not 1998. Would streamline approval processes and give the President authority to exempt the facility from laws that did not apply, delayed the project, or increased costs to comply with health, safety, or environmental benefits.

S. 429, Independent Spent Nuclear Fuel Storage Act of 1995

[Sen. Richard H. Bryan (D-NV)] Would allow commercial nuclear utilities to receive credits toward contributions to the Nuclear Waste Fund. This would offset the cost of storing spent fuel if DOE is unable to accept it by January 31, 1998.

S. 473, Nuclear Energy Policy Act of 1995

[Sen. Paul Wellstone (D-MN)] Would prohibit new nuclear power reactors until a permanent disposal facility with room for all the nuclear waste of the reactor's life is licensed. At no time could the spent fuel exceed the capacity licensed.

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