Summary: S.1225 — 99th Congress (1985-1986)All Information (Except Text)

Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

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Reported to Senate amended, 2nd committee reporting (08/15/1986)

(Reported to Senate from the Committee on Environment and Public Works with amendment (without written report))

Price-Anderson Act Amendments Act of 1985 - Amends the Atomic Energy Act of 1954 to extend (from December 31, 1976, to 12 months after the date of enactment of this Act) the deadline by which the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) must prescribe the terms for licensees required to maintain financial protection to cover public liability claims.

Increases from $5,000,000 to $60,000,000 the maximum standard deferred premium which may be charged following such an incident for each facility required to maintain the maximum amount of financial protection.

Directs the Commission to request the Congress to appropriate sufficient funds for the Commission to issue obligations to the Secretary of the Treasury for the purpose of compensating public liability claims if the aggregate annual deferral premiums assessed for a nuclear incident are insufficient to indemnify such claims in a timely manner.

Provides that aggregate payments in any single year regarding liability for a nuclear incident covered by an industry retrospective rating plan may not be required to exceed the amount of financial protection provided in that year under the Atomic Energy Act of 1954. States that the exclusive source of payments for public liability claims shall be the funds provided by financial protection under such Act, and the funds provided as a result of the obligations issued by the Commission. States that the total of such obligations shall not exceed amounts provided in appropriation Acts. Sets forth guidelines for the issuance and redemption of such obligations.

Authorizes the Secretary of Energy (the Secretary) to enter into indemnification agreements with contractors (until August 1, 2007) for the construction or operation of production or utilization facilities for the benefit of the United States involving activities under the risk of public liability for a substantial nuclear incident (currently, the NRC has this authorization). Includes in such authorization any contracts involving the storage or disposal of spent nuclear fuel, high-level radioactive waste, or transuranic waste, including the transportation of such materials to a storage or disposal site or facility, and the construction and operation of such site.

Directs the Secretary to make available from the nuclear waste fund the amounts necessary to compensate public liability claims related to the transportation, storage or disposal of specified nuclear waste. Requires the Secretary: (1) to determine the extent to which a nuclear incident related to such waste involves materials produced as a result of electricity generated in a civilian nuclear power reactor (or materials resulting from other activities or both); and (2) to decide the appropriate source of funds to be used in compensating public liability claims based upon that determination. Requires the Secretary to promulgate the regulations for making such determination within 90 days of enactment of this Act.

Authorizes the Secretary to require as part of an indemnification agreement that a contractor maintain financial protection to cover any public liability relating to the contractual activity. Sets indemnification guidelines for persons indemnified against public liability claims. Sets $100,000,000 as the maximum indemnification amount for nuclear incidents occurring outside the United States.

Precludes a contractor with whom an indemnification agreement has been executed, and who is engaged in activities relating to underground detonation of a nuclear explosive device, from using any immunity or defense founded in the Federal, State or municipal character of the contractor or of the work performed. (This holds the contractor liable for damages resulting from such detonation to the same extent as a private person).

Sets aggregate liability guidelines for nuclear incidents which involve: (1) licensees required to maintain the maximum amount of liability insurance; and (2) contractors with whom the Secretary has entered into indemnification agreements.

Requires the Secretary or the NRC to report to the Congress the causes and extent of damage from any nuclear incident which will probably require payments by the United States.

States that, upon a court determination that public liability from a single nuclear incident may exceed a certain aggregate liability, the President must report to the Congress regarding: (1) the causes and extent of damage: (2) the estimated compensation requirements; and (3) compensation plans. Requires congressional approval of compensation plans by passage of an approval resolution within 60 days after submission.

Authorizes the NRC to incorporate provisions in indemnity agreements which waive certain defenses by contractors and licensees based upon fault, conduct, governmental or charitable immunity. Extends such waiver to extraordinary nuclear occurrences which result from: (1) transportation of nuclear or source material; or (2) activities undertaken by the Secretary, including the storage or disposal of nuclear waste (thus imposing a strict liability standard for any extraordinary nuclear occurrence).

Extends from August 1, 1987, to August 1, 2007, the authority of the NRC to enter into indemnification agreements with contractors.

Extends from August 1, 1983, to August 1, 2003, the deadline by which the NRC must submit to the Congress detailed reports concerning indemnification and liability procedures under the Act.