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                                                     Calendar No. 171
116th Congress      }                                  {       Report
 1st Session        }                                  {       116-69




                August 16, 2019.--Ordered to be printed

  Filed, under authority of the order of the Senate of August 1, 2019


        Ms. Murkowski, from the Committee on Energy and Natural
                   Resources, submitted the following

                              R E P O R T

                        [To accompany H.R. 1138]

      [Including cost estimate of the Congressional Budget Office]

    The Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, to which was 
referred the bill (H.R. 1138) to reauthorize the West Valley 
demonstration project, and for other purposes, having 
considered the same, reports favorably thereon without 
amendment and recommends that the bill do pass.


    The purpose of H.R. 1138 is to reauthorize the West Valley 
demonstration project.

                          Background and Need

    In the 1950s, the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) encouraged 
private industry to participate in the reprocessing of used 
nuclear fuel. In 1959, the State of New York established the 
Office of Atomic Development and two years later purchased land 
near West Valley, New York, to establish the Western New York 
Nuclear Service Center. In 1962, the Davison Chemical Company 
created Nuclear Fuel Services, Inc., to construct and operate a 
reprocessing facility at that site. The Atomic Energy 
Commission issued a construction permit for the reprocessing 
facility in 1963 and an operating license for it in 1966. It 
began operation in 1966 and reprocessed about 640 metric tons 
of spent nuclear fuel.
    In 1972, Nuclear Fuel Services shut down the reprocessing 
plant to expand its capabilities and make changes to reduce 
radioactive exposure risk to personnel employed at the site. 
The AEC determined the changes represented a significant 
alteration and required the project to undergo a complete 
license review. During the review process, the AEC stipulated 
that the facilities at West Valley must be able to withstand a 
once in ten million year high magnitude tornado and a once in a 
million year high magnitude earthquake.
    In 1976, Nuclear Fuel Services decided to shutter the 
reprocessing operation due to the high costs associated with 
the pending modification to the facility, as well as the 
uncertain regulatory environment. By shutting down the 
facility, Nuclear Fuel Services was able to exercise its 
ability to shift responsibility for the waste to the State of 
New York.
    In 1980, the West Valley Demonstration Project Act was 
enacted (Public Law 96-368).The Act directed the Department of 
Energy (DOE) to carry out a high-level radioactive waste 
management demonstration project at the Western New York 
Service Center in West Valley, New York, to demonstrate 
solidification techniques for liquid wastes. The law required 
DOE to enter into a partnership with New York and provided for 
a cost-share agreement where 90 percent of the cost was covered 
by the Federal Government.

                          Legislative History

    H.R. 1138 was introduced in the House of Representatives by 
Representatives Reed and Higgins on February 11, 2019, and 
referred to the Energy and Commerce Committee. The Energy and 
Commerce Committee reported H.R. 1138 favorably on March 5, 
2019, and the measure passed the House of Representatives by 
voice vote on the same day. The Subcommittee on Energy held a 
legislative hearing on H.R. 1138 on July 9, 2019.
    In the 115th Congress, Representatives Reed, Higgins, 
Nadler, and Slaughter introduced nearly identical legislation, 
H.R. 2389, in the House of Representative on May 4, 2017. H.R. 
2389 was referred to the Energy and Commerce Committee, which 
reported the measure favorably on July 12, 2018 (H. Rept. 115-
926). H.R. 2389 passed the House of Representatives by voice 
vote on September 25, 2018.
    The Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources met in 
open business session on July 16, 2019, and ordered H.R. 1138 
favorably reported.

                        Committee Recommendation

    The Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, in 
open business session on July 16, 2019, by a majority voice 
vote of a quorum present, recommends that the Senate pass H.R. 

                      Section-by-Section Analysis

Section 1. West valley demonstration project

    Section 1(a) reauthorizes the West Valley Demonstration 
Project Act at $75 million for each of the fiscal years 2020 
through 2026.
    Subsection (b) requires the Comptroller General to submit a 
report to Congress within 18 months of enactment regarding the 
West Valley Demonstration Project. This subsection further 
specifies the information to be contained in the report, 
including the identified options for disposal of each type of 
radioactive waste.

                   Cost and Budgetary Considerations

    The following estimate of the costs of this measure has 
been provided by the Congressional Budget Office:


    H.R. 1138 would authorize the appropriation of $75 million 
annually over the 2020-2026 period for the Department of Energy 
(DOE) to continue cleanup activities at the West Valley 
Demonstration Project, a nuclear waste remediation site in New 
    In 2019, DOE allocated $75 million for cleanup activities 
at the site. Assuming appropriation of the authorized amounts, 
and based on historical spending patterns for similar programs, 
CBO estimates that implementing H.R. 1138 would cost $319 
million over the 2019-2024 period.
    The act also would require the Government Accountability 
Office to report to the Congress on options for disposing of 
the site's nuclear waste. Based on the costs of similar tasks, 
CBO estimates that any costs to complete the report would be 
insignificant; such spending would be subject to the 
availability of appropriated funds.
    The costs of the legislation (detailed in Table 1) fall 
within budget function 270 (energy).

                                                                                By fiscal year, millions of dollars--
                                             2019    2020    2021    2022    2023    2024    2025    2026    2027    2028    2029   2019-2024  2019-2029
Authorization.............................       0      75      75      75      75      75      75      75       0       0       0       375        525
Estimated Outlays.........................       0      38      60      71      75      75      75      75      38      15       3       319        525

    The CBO staff contact for this estimate is Sofia Guo. The 
estimate was reviewed by H. Samuel Papenfuss, Deputy Assistant 
Director for Budget Analysis.

                      Regulatory Impact Evaluation

    In compliance with paragraph 11(b) of rule XXVI of the 
Standing Rules of the Senate, the Committee makes the following 
evaluation of the regulatory impact which would be incurred in 
carrying out H.R. 1138. The Act is not a regulatory measure in 
the sense of imposing Government-established standards or 
significant economic responsibilities on private individuals 
and businesses.
    No personal information would be collected in administering 
the program. Therefore, there would be no impact on personal 
    Little, if any, additional paperwork would result from the 
enactment of H.R. 1138, as ordered reported.

                   Congressionally Directed Spending

    H.R. 1138, as ordered reported, does not contain any 
congressionally directed spending items, limited tax benefits, 
or limited tariff benefits as defined in rule XLIV of the 
Standing Rules of the Senate.

                        Executive Communications

    The testimony provided by the Department of Energy at the 
July 9, 2019, hearing on H.R. 1138 follows:

Testimony of the Honorable Bruce J. Walker, Assistant Secretary, Office 
               of Electricity, U.S. Department of Energy


    Chairman Cassidy, Ranking Member Heinrich, and Members of 
the Subcommittee, it is an honor and a privilege to serve at 
the Department of Energy (DOE or the Department), as Assistant 
Secretary for the Office of Electricity. DOE is charged with, 
among other important responsibilities, providing our Nation 
with premier energy research and development (R&D) activities. 
The work being conducted by DOE is setting the course for 
various advancements in the energy field and beyond. Issues 
like energy storage, improving energy efficiency, creating 
breakthroughs in how we extract and utilize our Nation's fossil 
fuels, and Artificial Intelligence are just some of the 
important areas of DOE research. These are also the topics 
being covered at today's hearing.

           west valley demonstration project reauthorization

    The West Valley Demonstration Project came into being 
through the West Valley Demonstration Project Act of 1980. The 
Act makes DOE responsible for solidifying the high-level waste, 
disposing of waste created by the solidification, and 
decommissioning the facilities used in the process.
H.R. 1138--West Valley Demonstration Project Reauthorization
    This bill reauthorizes the West Valley Demonstration 
Project located in West Valley, New York, through FY 2026.
    The FY 2020 Budget request $78 million for the site, which 
provides for completion of deactivation activities at the Main 
Plant Process Building to reduce risk. The proposed legislation 
would not impact DOE's legal obligations.


    Thank you again for the opportunity to testify today on 
behalf of DOE. The Department appreciates the ongoing 
bipartisan efforts to address our nation's energy challenges, 
and looks forward to working with the Committee on the 
legislation on today's agenda and any future legislation

                        Changes in Existing Law

    In compliance with paragraph 12 of rule XXVI of the 
Standing Rules of the Senate, the changes in existing law made 
by the original Act, as reported, are shown as follows 
(existing law proposed to be omitted is enclosed in black 
brackets, new matter is printed in italic, existing law in 
which no change is proposed is shown in roman):


Public Law 96-368, as Amended

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *

    Sec. 3. (a) There are authorized to be appropriated to the 
Secretary for the project not more than [$5,000,000 for the 
fiscal year ending September 30, 1981] $75,000,000 for each of 
the fiscal years 2020 through 2026.