Summary: S.1662 — 97th Congress (1981-1982)All Information (Except Text)

Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

Shown Here:
Passed Senate amended (04/29/1982)

(Measure passed Senate, amended, roll call #93 (69-9))

National Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1982 - Title I: Findings and Purpose - Declares the purpose of this Act to be the establishment of a Federal policy for the acquisition and interim storage of spent fuel and the long-term storage and disposal of high-level radioactive waste generated by civilian nuclear activities.

Title II: Definitions and General Provisions - Defines the terms used in this Act. Sets forth the applicability of certain provisions in this Act to atomic energy defense activities of the Department of Energy.

Directs the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) to: (1) develop a program of inplant drills for nuclear powerplant operators, to be conducted by civilian nuclear powerplant licensees; and (2) promulgate regulations for training and qualifications of civilian nuclear powerplant operating personnel. Requires the NRC to report to Congress within one year of enactment of this Act on its efforts to comply with these requirements.

Title III: Interim Storage of Spent Fuel From Civilian Nuclear Powerplants - Directs the Secretary of Energy to enter into contracts with owners of civilian nuclear powerplants which cannot provide adequate spent fuel storage capacity at the powerplant site. Requires that under such contracts the Government agree to take title to any spent fuel which cannot be stored onsite and transport it to, and store it in, federally owned and operated interim storage facilities, pending further processing, storage, or disposal. Prohibits contracts for spent fuel in amounts in excess of available storage capacity. States that this Act does not authorize contracts with respect to spent fuel from a nuclear powerplant located outside the United States. Sets forth contract requirements with respect to: (1) a one-time payment by the owner of the spent fuel to cover transportation, storage, and disposal costs; (2) the owner's right to the value of the remaining fuel resource; (3) the transfer of title to the spent fuel; and (4) the effective date of the contract. Requires the Secretary to publish notice of intent to enter into such contracts and the one-time payment charge in the Federal Register.

Directs the Secretary to construct or acquire one or more interim storage facilities for such spent fuel. Limits the total storage capacity at all such facilities. Directs the Secretary to contract with private industry for the transportation of spent fuel. Authorizes the use of Federal transportation services if private industry cannot or will not provide such services at a reasonable cost.

Directs the Secretary to make annual impact assistance payments to State and local governments to mitigate Social and economic impacts caused by the construction and subsequent operation of any interim away-from-reactor storage facilities within such governments' jurisdictions. Subjects such payments to certain terms and restrictions.

Makes funds funds available for the establishment of the interim storage facilities.

Requires the Secretary to inform the Governor and the legislature and the eligible Indian tribes of any State in which a potential site for an interim storage facility is located of the investigation and selection of such site for such facility. Requires the Secretary to enter into negotiations with the State and any eligible Indian tribes at the time of site selection to establish a cooperative agreement under which the State and Indian tribes shall have the right to participate in a process of consultation and concurrence, based on public health and safety and environmental concerns, in all stages of the development, operation, and closure of an interim storage facility. Directs the Secretary to report periodically to Congress on the status of such negotiations.

Requires the Secretary to: (1) suspend work on a facility if the Governor of a State or an eligible Indian tribe objects; and (2) transmit such objections, with recommendations, to the President. Directs the Secretary to terminate such work unless the President, within 90 days of being notified by the Secretary, determines such facility is essential to the national interest.

Amends the Energy Reorganization Act of 1974 to provide that the NRC shall have licensing and related regulatory authority over storage facilities for high-level radioactive waste and spent fuel from foreign reactors whose transfer is authorized under the Atomic Energy Act of 1954.

Subjects the transportation of spent fuel under this Act to licensing and regulation by the NRC as provided under existing law.

Requires the Secretary, the NRC, and Federal officials to encourage and expedite the effective use of existing storage facilities and the addition of needed new storage capacity at civilian nuclear powerplant sites. Directs the Secretary to establish a cooperative program to assist private development of alternate technologies for spent fuel storage which can be licensed by the NRC on a generic basis for use at all civilian nuclear powerplant sites.

Declares it to be the policy of the United States to cooperate with, and provide technical assistance to, non-nuclear weapon states in the field of spent fuel storage and disposal. Requires the Secretary and the NRC to publish a joint notice of such policy in the Federal Register. Requires the joint notice to be updated and reissued annually for five succeeding years. Directs the Secretary of State to: (1) inform the governments of non-nuclear weapon states and, where feasible, organizations operating nuclear powerplants in such states of the U.S. policy; and (2) solicit their expressions of interest in participating in expanded U.S. cooperation and technical assistance programs in these fields. Requires the President to include funding requests for such programs in the budget presentation for the Department of Energy and the NRC for FY 1984 through 1989.

Permits an applicant for a license or license amendment to expand the spent fuel storage capacity at a civilian nuclear powerplant site to petition the NRC for an interim license or license amendment prior to a required hearing on the application. Authorizes the NRC to issue an interim license or license amendment if: (1) all legal requirements other than a required hearing are met; (2) there will be adequate protection of the public health and safety and the environment during the interim period; and (3) refusal to grant the petition will prevent the petitioner from maintaining a full core reserve storage capability at the powerplant site. Prohibits the NRC from issuing an interim license or license amendment for the first application to expand onsite spent fuel storage capacity by a new technology not previously approved for use at a nuclear powerplant.

Sets forth administrative review requirements with respect to an application for a license or license amendment to expand spent fuel storage capacity at a civilian nuclear powerplant site. Prohibits the NRC from considering spent fuel storage in away-from-reactor facilities as spent fuel storage alternatives.

Title IV: Disposal of Solidified High-Level Radioactive Waste and Spent Fuel - Requires the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to propose standards for offsite releases of radionuclides from repositories for solidified high-level radioactive waste and spent fuel. Requires the NRC to promulgate technical criteria for review of applications for: (1) authority to construct repositories; and (2) licenses to emplace such waste and spent fuel in repositories.

Directs the Secretary to issue guidelines for repository site recommendations. Requires the Secretary to make repository site characterization recommendations to the President according to a specified time schedule. Requires the Secretary to notify the Governor of the State in which a site is located and affected Indian tribes and to hold public meetings in the vicinity of the site before making a site characterization recommendation to the President.

Provides for Presidential approval or disapproval of a site characterization recommendation within 60 days after submission of the recommendation. Authorizes the President to delay a decision for six months if there is insufficient information to make a decision. States that the site shall be considered approved if the President fails to act within the required time periods.

Requires the Secretary to submit to the NRC, the Governor of the affected State, and affected Indian tribes for review: (1) an environmental assessment of the impacts of the site characterization activities planned for an approved site and alternatives to avoid such impacts; (2) a general plan for site characterization activities; and (3) proposals for the packaging of the waste and spent fuel to be emplaced in the repository. Requires the Secretary to consider fully any comments received and conduct site characterization activities so as to minimize any significant adverse environmental impacts identified in the environmental assessment. Directs the Secretary to report to the NRC, the Governor, and the Indian tribes during site characterization activities. Requires the Secretary to conduct, and report to them on, tests to provide data for a construction authorization application for a repository at the site and for compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969. Restricts the Secretary's use of radioactive materials during site characterization activities.

Requires the Secretary to recommend for Presidential approval characterized sites for the development of repositories according to a specified schedule. Requires the Secretary to hold public meetings in the vicinity of a site to receive area residents' comments before recommending the site for Presidential approval. Requires that a final environmental impact statement accompany each site recommendation.

Provides for Presidential approval or disapproval of a site recommendation within 60 days after its submission. Requires the Secretary to make another recommendation within 60 days in the event of Presidential disapproval of a recommendation.

Directs the Secretary to apply to the NRC for authorization to construct a repository at a site selected by the President. Requires the NRC to report to Congress on the application proceedings. Requires that the NRC issue a final decision on the first such application by December 31, 1989, and on the second such application by December 31, 1992. Directs the Secretary, the NRC, and Federal officials to achieve operational status of a repository licensed under this Act as soon as possible.

Requires the Secretary to transmit to Congress a proposal for at least one test and evaluation facility for developing the packaging, handling, and emplacement technology for solidified high-level radioactive waste and spent fuel. Requires that an environmental assessment accompany such proposal. Makes the requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 applicable when Congress authorizes construction of the facility. States that the facility shall not be subject to an NRC license but that the Secretary shall obtain the concurrence of the NRC in the establishment of the facility. Requires the Secretary to provide for the participation of any affected State and any affected Indian tribe in a process of consultation and concurrence in all stages of development, operation, and closure of such a facility.

Requires the Secretary and the U.S. Geological Survey to conduct a national site survey program to be used for identifying and recommending sites for site characterization.

Directs the Secretary to accelerate a research and development program on alternate technologies for the permanent disposal of high-level radioactive waste from civilian nuclear activities, atomic energy defense activities of the Secretary, and Federal research and development activities.

Prohibits the issuance of any license or other approval by the Government or the President for the disposal of low-level nuclear waste, including contaminated materials in the oceans: (1) until the EPA reports on a comparison of the adverse effects of such disposal on the marine environment with the adverse effects of land disposal and Congress authorizes such disposal; or (2) unless the proposed disposal is only for purposes of research on the effects of low-level radiation on the marine environment.

Requires the Secretary to contract with civilian nuclear powerplant owners and operators and owners of spent fuel or high- level radioactive waste generated by civilian nuclear powerplants for Federal storage or disposal of their spent fuel and high-level radioactive waste. Permits any person, with whom the Secretary has contracted, to bring an action for damages for any breach of contract by the Government, unless the Government shows that its breach of contract occurred because of safety considerations and not Government delay.

Directs the Secretary to submit to Congress by January 1, 1983, a detailed management plan for the actions required by this title. Requires the President to submit with such plan an evaluation of a plan to establish an independent establishment in the executive branch to manage repositories and temporary storage sites.

Title V: Long-Term Storage of Solidified High-Level Radioactive Waste and Spent Fuel From Civilian Nuclear Activities - Requires the Secretary to transmit to Congress a proposal for the consideration of monitored, retrievable storage facilities for spent fuel and solidified high-level radioactive waste. Requires that an environmental assessment accompany such proposal. Makes requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 applicable when Congress authorizes the construction of the initial facility. Subjects any such facility authorized under this Act to a license under the Energy Reorganization Act of 1974.

Requires the Secretary to make annual impact aid payments to local governments in order to mitigate social and economic impacts caused by the construction and subsequent operation of any monitored, retrievable storage facilities within such governments' jurisdictions. Subjects such payments to certain terms and restrictions.

Title VI: Financial Arrangements - Establishes in the Treasury a separate account for the operation of the storage and disposal program under this Act. Permits the Secretary to borrow money from the Treasury in amounts provided in appropriations Acts.

Imposes a mandatory fee on electricity generated and sold by civilian nuclear powerplants 90 days or more after enactment of this Act, in order to cover the costs of the storage and disposal of solidified high-level radioactive waste and spent fuel. Requires the persons owning and operating such powerplants to collect such fees and pay them to the Treasury for deposit in the separate account.

Provides for the establishment of a one time fee for electricity generated from spent fuel or solidified high-level radioactive waste which was removed from a civilian nuclear powerplant before the enactment of this Act and delivered to the Federal Government for long-term storage and permanent disposal. Requires that the fee be paid by the persons delivering the spent fuel and waste to the Treasury for deposit in the separate account.

Makes the funds resulting from the fee collection available for the construction and operating costs of away-from-reactor facilities.

Title VII: State Participation in the Development of Repositories and Monitored, Retrievable Storage Facilities For Solidified High-Level Radioactive Waste and Spent Fuel - Directs the Secretary to notify the Governor, the State legislature, and affected Indian tribes of States with potentially acceptable repository or storage facility sites. Requires the Secretary to establish a cooperative agreement with each State and Indian tribe notified under which the State or Indian tribe shall have the right to participate in all stages of the establishment of a repository or a retrievable, monitored storage facility. Authorizes such participation once site approval for a repository or site designation for a retrievable, monitored storage facility has occurred, or upon written request of the State or Indian tribe, whichever of these three events occurs first. Specifies the provisions which a cooperative agreement must include.

Directs the Secretary to notify the Governor, the State legislature, and affected Indian tribes of an affected State at least 90 days before applying to the NRC for construction authorization for a repository or storage facility. Requires the Secretary to transmit to Congress, within 90 days after receipt of such notice: (1) objections made by the Governor or an Indian tribe; and (2) recommendations concerning such objections. Requires suspension of work on the proposed repository or storage facility if either the House of Representatives or the Senate passes a resolution disapproving the proposal for the repository or storage facility within 60 days after submission of such objections to Congress.

Title VIII: Permanent Disposal of High-Level Radioactive Waste From Atomic Energy Defense Activities - Requires the President to evaluate the use of the repositories developed, pursuant to title IV of this Act, for the permanent disposal of high-level radioactive waste from atomic energy defense activities in the report on permanent disposal plans for such waste required by the Department of Energy National Security and Military Applications of Nuclear Energy Authorization Act of 1982. Directs the Secretary to arrange for the use of one or more of the repositories developed pursuant to this Act for the permanent disposal of such waste, with costs to be paid by the Government, unless the President determines that national security needs require the development of separate repositories for such waste. Requires that any such separate repository comply with requirements under this Act and licensing and NRC requirements.