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Rethinking Spent Fuel

Fortnightly Magazine - February 2011

be an arm of the federal administration, would be better positioned to be able to show a local benefit without getting into the general notion of federal government funding and general taxpayer revenues providing financial incentives to a local community. Washington doesn’t do a good job of recognizing local interests. But an entity that’s structured much more like a private enterprise—even though the shareholder would be the federal government—has a better chance of aligning with and getting the cooperation from the state and local community.


Fortnightly: What I hear you saying is that if the Voinovich bill or something like it were enacted, then the Fed Corp would be tasked with siting. In a way, that would greatly simplify the work of the federal government, and could narrow the scope of issues being examined by the BRC.

Barron: That’s correct. I recognize the complexity of the issues the BRC has been asked to consider, and I’d point out that there are no simple and immediate answers. The questions need ongoing deliberation, and the governance of this new corporation would assume a lot of those deliberations. The board of directors would need to make sure the interests of local communities are being taken into account, and determine the best approaches to take with complex issues such as siting, cost management and overall impact on fuel cost.

Some people might be expecting too much of the BRC, but if there’s one thing they can do, they can set in motion a more sustainable governance process. The Voinovich Bill was created with a limited amount of input. To further inform it with the thoughts and wisdom of the BRC would be a good thing.– JAB