Summary: S.562 — 96th Congress (1979-1980)All Information (Except Text)

Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

Shown Here:
Conference report filed in House (06/04/1980)

(Conference report filed in House, H. Rept. 96-1070)

=Title I: Authorization of Appropriations for Fiscal Year 1980= - Authorizes appropriations for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to be used for nuclear reactor regulation, inspection and enforcement, standards development, nuclear material safety and safeguards, nuclear regulatory research, program technical support, and program direction and administration.

Limits the Commission's authority to reprogram such funds by an increase or decrease in excess of $500,000 for a period of 45 calendar days after notifying the appropriate committees of Congress, unless each committee has transmitted a written notice stating it has no objections to the proposed action.

Requires the Commission to approve by majority vote any contract of the Commission providing funds in excess of $50,000 for research, study, or technical assistance on domestic safeguards.

Directs the Commission to establish a Senior Contract Review Board to review placements or modifications of contracts with Federal agencies or for research services in excess of $500,000, with any such contract in excess of $1,000,000 being approved by a majority vote of the Commission.

Permits: (1) moneys received by the Commission for the cooperative nuclear research programs to be retained and used for salaries and expenses associated with those programs; and (2) transfers of sums from salaries and expenses to be made to other agencies of the Government for the performance of the work for which the appropriation is made.

Requires the President to notify Congress 30 days in advance of the transfer of any spent fuel to any territory or insular possession of the United States or Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands, or to notify the Speaker of the House and the President of the Senate as soon as possible if there is an emergency.

Directs the Commission to develop a plan of response to utilization facility accidents.

Prohibits funds authorized under this Act from being used to license or approve any disposal of nuclear wastes in the oceans.

Directs the Commission to promulgate regulations establishing demographic requirements for the siting of utilization facilities. Requires the regulations to take into account the feasibility of all actions outside the facility which may be necessary to protect public health and safety in the event of any accidental release of radioactive material from the facility.

Prohibits the Commission from preempting any State requirement relating to land use or plant siting, except that no State or local land use or facility siting requirement established under this Act shall have any effect unless the State or local requirement is identical to, or more stringent than, the requirements promulgated pursuant to this Act.

Prohibits the issuance of a license unless there exists a State or local emergency preparedness which: (1) provides for responding to accidents at the facility; and (2) complies with the Commission's guidelines for such plans. Stipulates that in the absence of a satisfactory plan there must exist a State, local, or utility plan which provides reasonable assurances that public health and safety is not endangered.

Directs the Commission to establish by rule: (1) State radiological emergency response plans; (2) a requirement that the Commission will issue operating licenses only if there exists a State or local radiological emergency response plan or in the absence of a satisfactory plan there exists a State, local, or utility plan which provides reasonable assurance that public health and safety is not endangered; and (3) a mechanism to encourage and assist States in adopting suitable emergency response plans.

Directs the Commission to: (1) review all State emergency preparations and plans; (2) assess the adequacy of the plans and preparations and to report to Congress on the assessment; (3) identify and notify any States without adequate plans and preparations; and (4) report to Congress concerning the State emergency plans, including recommendations respecting additional Federal statutory authority necessary to assure adequate plans and preparations for an emergency.

Requires the Commissioner, in carrying out the review assessment and in submitting the report, to include: (1) a review and assessment of the emergency response capability of the operator of any facility; and (2) a determination of the maximum zone around each reactor which could be evacuated at various warning times.

Directs the Commission to develop, submit to Congress, and implement a specified comprehensive plan for the systematic safety evaluation of all currently licensed operating facilities.

=Title II: Amendments to the Atomic Energy Act of 1954= - Amends the Atomic Energy Act of 1954 to require as a condition for the issuance of a license that the licensee must immediately notify the Commission in any case of any accident which could result in an unplanned release of fission products in excess of the established allowable limits.

Makes it a Federal crime to murder, assault, or interfere with nuclear inspectors.

Subjects to fine or imprisonment, or both, any director, officer, or employee of a firm constructing or supplying the components for a licensed utilization facility who knowingly and willfully violates or causes to be violated any section of the Act, or regulation issued thereunder, which results or could have resulted in a significant impairment of a basic component of the facility. Defines the term "basic component" to mean a facility structure, system, component or part thereof necessary to assure: (1) the integrity of the reactor coolant pressure boundary; (2) the capability to shut-down the facility and maintain it in a safe shut-down condition; or (3) the capability to prevent or mitigate the consequences of an accident which could result in an unplanned offsite release of quantities of fission products as established by the Commission.

Subjects to fine or imprisonment, or both, any individual who intentionally and willfully destroys or damages, or who attempts intentionally and willfully to destroy or damage any licensed nuclear facility or any fuel for or from such a facility.

Authorizes the Commission, on its own motion or at the request of any State Governor, to, after notifying the Governor, temporarily, without notice, suspend all or part of its agreement with the State if: (1) an emergency creates a danger to the health or safety of persons in the State; and (2) the State has not taken steps necessary to contain or eliminate the danger.

Increases the maximum civil penalty which the Commission can impose for single license violations from $15,000 to $100,000, and remove the $25,000 total penalty ceiling payable in a 30-day period.

Directs the Commission to prescribe regulations, after notice and opportunity for public comment, to prohibit the unauthorized disclosure of safeguards information which identifies a licensee's or applicant's: (1) control and acquisition procedures or security measures for the physical protection of special nuclear material; (2) security measures for the physical protection of source or byproduct material; or (3) security measures for the physical protection of certain plant equipment vital to the safety of production or utilization facilities, if the disclosure of such information could reasonably have a significant adverse impact on the health and safety of the public or common defense and security. Stipulates that the disclosure of information pertaining to the routes and quantities of shipments of source material, by-product material, high level nuclear waste, or irradiated nuclear reactor fuel shall not be prohibited. Directs the Commission, upon issuing proposed safeguards regulations, to report to Congress the Commission's justification for issuing the regulations. Directs the Commission to report to Congress quarterly to justify the Commission's application of the regulation.

=Title III: Other Provisions= - Directs the Commission to promulgate regulations providing for timely notification to the Governor of any State prior to the transport of potentially hazardous nuclear waste, including spent fuel, to, through, or across the boundaries of such State.

Directs the Commission to contract for an independent review of the Commission's management structure, process, procedures, and operations.

Directs the Commission to include in its annual report to Congress a statement of: (1) the direct and indirect costs to the Commission for the issuance of any license or permit and for the inspection of any facility; and (2) the fees paid to the Commission for the issuance of any license or permit for the inspection of any facility.

Directs the Commission to prepare and publish a National Contingency Plan to provide for expeditious, efficient, and coordinated action by appropriate Federal agencies to protect the public health and safety in the case of accidents at any licensed facility.

Directs the Commission to establish a mechanism for instant uninterrupted verbal communication between each licensed facility, and: (1) Commission headquarters; and (2) the appropriate regional office. Directs the Commission to prepare and transmit to Congress a study of alternate plans for instantaneous and timely transmission to the Commission of data indicating the status of principal system parameters at licensed facilities.

Directs the Commission to undertake a comprehensive investigation and study, and to report to Congress concerning, the impediments to expeditious and reliable communication among Commission headquarters, the Commission regional office, Commission representatives at the facility site, senior management officials and operator personnel of the licensee, and the Governor of Pennsylvania and other State officials in the 30-day period following the Three Mile Island Nuclear accident.

Directs the Commission to prepare a plan to improve the technical capability of licensee personnel to safely operate licensed facilities, and to submit the plan to Congress. Requires the plan to include criteria for the intensive training and retraining of licensed operator personnel and for the licensing of such personnel to assure: (1) conformity with all conditions and requirements of the operating license; (2) early identification of accidents or events which may significantly increase the likelihood of an accident; and (3) effective response to any such accident or event. Requires the plan to include provisions for: (1) the approval of personnel conducting any training or retraining program; (2) requirements for the renewal of operator licenses; and (3) criteria for suspending or revoking operator licenses. Requires the Commission to consider the feasibility of a requalification test every six months for licensed operators.

Directs the Commission to study the feasibility and value of licensing plant managers and senior licensee officers, and to report its findings to Congress.

Requires the Commission and the Environmental Protection Agency, in consultation with the Secretary of Health and Human Resources, to study and evaluate the feasibility of epidemiological research on the health effects of low-level ionizing radiation exposure to licensee, contractor, and subcontractor employees as a result of: (1) the Three Mile Island accident; (2) efforts to stabilize the TMI facility; and (3) efforts to decontaminate, decommission, or repair such facility.