Nuclear Waste Bill Heads to House

With President Clinton and the Department of Energy (DOE) staunchly opposed, the House of Representatives was expected to return September 4 from August recess to take up its version of a nuclear waste disposal bill that passed in the Senate on July 31 by a vote of 63-37.

Senate bill 1936 and its amendments call for a temporary storage facility at the Nevada nuclear test site near Yucca Mountain before the end of 1999.

The Value of Storage: Today Gas, Tomorrow Electricity?

Open-access economics make stored energy something you can bank on. For natural gas and electric power.You can't store electricity, right?

The old shibboleth to some extent is literally true. The electric industry appears different from the natural gas industry in that demand must be matched immediately with production. No viable location comes to mind to put away some of that extra power until it is needed. But literal truth is not necessarily the whole story.


Six weeks ago I wrote a column ("$70,000 an Hour," July 15, 1996, p. 4) about nuclear waste, the Department of Energy (DOE), and the billions of dollars paid in by electric utilities that lie stranded in the federal nuclear waste fund.

On July 23 a federal appeals court ruled that DOE must establish a repository and begin accepting high-level nuclear waste for storage, beginning January 31, 1998. (See, Indiana-Michigan Power Co. v. DOE, D.C. Cir.

Thermal Energy Storage: Putting Green Solutions on Site

Thermal Energy Storage: Putting

Green Solutions

on SiteBy John E. Flory, Loren W. McCannon, Stan Tory,

Donald L. Geistert, and James PattersonA recent study coordinated by the California Energy Commission shows how stored-cooling applications provide both environmental and competitive benefits in a summer-peaking market.As California prepares for a more competitive electric future, the California Energy Commission (CEC) is taking another look at some key customer technologies.

Foreign Waste Generates Heat

The Nuclear Waste Strategy Coalition (em a group of 36 state regulatory agencies, Attorneys General, and utilities from 20 states (em has renewed calls for storage and disposal facilities since the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) accepted 20 metric tons of radioactive waste from 41 countries. The waste derives from nuclear fuel originally provided by the United States to foreign power plants. The bulk, 19 tons, goes to the Savannah River Site in South Carolina; the Idaho National Engineering Laboratory receives the remainder. U.S. taxpayers pick up the tab: about $1 billion.


That's how fast the money pours in to the nation's Nuclear Waste Disposal Fund, one mill at a time. And the money is attracting attention, especially during this election year, with Congress running out of time before its planned August recess.

"Today has been extremely rich in terms of rumors," said Mike McCarthy, administrator of the Nuclear Waste Strategy Coalition, when I talked with him on June 28.

"The leadership in the House and Senate have met. People seem to be adjusting their schedules.

LILCO to Promote Customer Choice

The New York Public Service Commission (PSC) will permit Long Island Lighting Co. (LILCO), a natural gas local distribution company (LDC), to institute temporarily a series of tariff revisions designed to enhance customers' ability to choose competing suppliers of natural gas.

According to PSC staff, the LDC's plan to offer a new array of firm transportation choices constitutes a "reasonable alternative" to full disaggregation of existing sales rates.

NRC OK's Trojan Decommissioning Plan

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has approved Portland General Electric Co.'s (PGE's) decommissioning plan for the Trojan nuclear power plant. The Trojan plant, which began operating in 1975, was permanently shut down in January 1993. PGE filed its decommissioning plan in January 1995, proposing to move the spent fuel to onsite dry cask storage, dismantle radioactive structures, and decontaminate the site for unrestricted use (except for the dry-cask storage area). t

Lori A. Burkhart is an associate legal editor of PUBLIC UTILITIES FORTNIGHTLY.