Summary: H.R.45 — 106th Congress (1999-2000)All Information (Except Text)

Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

Shown Here:
Reported to House amended, Part I (05/20/1999)

Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1999 - Revises the Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1982 to rename it the Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1999. Directs the Secretary of Energy (the Secretary) to: (1) take actions to ensure that the Secretary is able to accept and transport spent nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste by June 30, 2003; (2) use the most safe and efficient method to transport such waste to the interim storage facility and the Yucca Mountain site; and (3) avoid, to the extent practicable, the shipment of such waste through the Las Vegas metropolitan area. Sets a deadline for the Secretary to develop the capability to commence rail to truck intermodal transfer at Caliente, Nevada.

(Sec. 1) Sets forth specified duties if the Secretary determines there is a need for rail to truck intermodal transfer, including the establishment of terms under which the Secretary may use heavy-haul truck transport to move such waste from Caliente, Nevada, to the interim storage facility site.

Requires the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) to enter into a Memorandum of Understanding with the City of Caliente and Lincoln County, Nevada, to provide advice to the Commission regarding intermodal transfer and to facilitate on-site representation. Provides that reasonable expenses of such representation shall be paid by the Secretary.

Provides for heavy-haul transportation route and truck transportation.

Provides that: (1) acceptance of such waste by the Secretary constitutes a transfer of title to the Secretary; and (2) in lieu of any other route designation, the Secretary may enter into discussions with other Federal agencies regarding alternate routes between Caliente, Nevada and the Yucca Mountain Site and running through the Nevada Test Site and other Federal lands.

Prescribes requirements in the following areas in order to ensure that the Secretary is able to accept spent nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste by June 30, 2003: (1) transportation planning and readiness; (2) package certification; (3) technical assistance and funds to jurisdictional entities for training public safety officials, nonprofit employee organizations, voluntary emergency response organizations, and joint labor-management organizations experienced in worker health and safety training; (4) employee protection and training standards applicable to workers directly involved in the removal and transportation of spent nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste; and (5) interim storage facility, permanent disposal, and land withdrawal.

Declares that NRC promulgation of standards or criteria in accordance with specified requirements for permanent disposal shall not require preparation of an environmental impact statement or any environmental review.

Instructs the Secretary to: (1) offer Nye County, Nevada, an opportunity to designate an on-site oversight representative; and (2) offer to enter into separate benefits agreements with Lincoln and Nye Counties concerning the integrated management system.

Requires the Secretary to make certain initial land conveyances in Nevada to: (1) Nye County; (2) Lincoln County; and (3) the City of Caliente.

Authorizes the Secretary to grant payments in lieu of taxes to any affected Indian or local jurisdiction until the termination of the integrated management system activities.

Authorizes the Secretary to contract with any person generating or holding title to spent nuclear fuel or high-level radioactive waste of domestic origin for the acceptance of title, on-site storage transportation, interim storage, and disposal. Prescribes guidelines under which such contracts shall provide for payment to the Secretary of fees sufficient to offset expenditures for the integrated management system.

Provides that payment to the Nuclear Waste Fund of the one-time fee for spent nuclear fuel or high-level radioactive waste derived from spent nuclear fuel which had been used to generate electricity in specified civilian nuclear power reactors relieves the responsible party from further financial obligation to the Federal Government for its long-term storage or permanent disposal.

Conditions the issuance or renewal of a utilization or production facility license upon a valid contract or contract negotiations with the Secretary. Authorizes the NRC to require prior agreement with the Secretary for spent fuel and waste disposal as a precondition to the issuance or renewal of a license.

Continues the Nuclear Waste Fund and the Office of Civilian Radioactive Waste Management.

Directs the Secretary to: (1) issue a final rule establishing the appropriate portion of the costs of managing spent nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste allocable to the interim storage or permanent disposal of spent nuclear fuel, high-level radioactive waste from atomic energy defense activities, and spent nuclear fuel from foreign research reactors; and (2) advise the Congress annually of the amount of high-level radioactive waste and spent nuclear fuel from atomic energy defense activities requiring management in the integrated spent nuclear fuel management system. Authorizes appropriations for the management of spent nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste from atomic energy defense activities.

Grants the Atomic Energy Act of 1954 and this Act preeminence in the event of a conflict or duplication of laws.

Precludes this Act from being construed as: (1) constituting either an express or implied Federal reservation of water rights for any purpose arising under it; (2) authorizing the Federal use of eminent domain to acquire water rights; or (3) limiting the exercise of water rights as provided under Nevada State laws.

Grants the U.S. courts of appeals original and exclusive jurisdiction over civil actions under this Act. Prescribes guidelines for NRC licensing hearings.

Prohibits the Secretary from conducting site-specific activities for a second repository unless the Congress has specifically authorized and appropriated funds for them.

Requires the NRC to promulgate regulatory guidelines for: (1) financial assurances for low-level radioactive waste site closures; and (2) training and qualification of civilian nuclear powerplant personnel.

Prohibits: (1) subseabed or ocean water disposal of spent nuclear fuel or high-level radioactive waste; and (2) any obligation of funds for any such related activity.

Expresses the sense of the Congress that to the greatest extent practicable all equipment and products purchased with funds made available under this Act should be American-made. Requires each Federal agency to give notice of this policy to any entity to which it provides financial assistance or contracts. Prohibits contracts with persons falsely labeling products as "Made in America."

Continues the Nuclear Waste Technical Review Board. Authorizes appropriations.

Prohibits the Director of the Office of Management and Budget from making estimates of changes in direct spending outlays and receipts pursuant to the Balanced Budget and Emergency Deficit Control Act of 1985 (Gramm-Rudman-Hollings Act) resulting from enactment of the funding and organization requirements of this Act governing: (1) specified contracts with any person who generates or holds title to high-level radioactive waste or spent nuclear fuel; or (2) retention of the Nuclear Waste Fund.