SMUD supports proposed congressional bill to resolve nuclear waste storage issues
Matsui amendment proposes bipartisan compromise on interim solution
SMUD, as the owner of the decommissioned Rancho Seco Nuclear Generating Station, supports efforts in Congress to advance off-site storage for spent nuclear fuel at permanent and interim storage facilities. SMUD is particularly encouraged to see the Nuclear Waste Policy Amendments Act progress out of the House Energy and Commerce Committee today.
The bill, H.R. 3053, would advance federal efforts to consider licensing a permanent repository for spent nuclear fuel at Yucca Mountain. It authorizes the Secretary of Energy to enter into benefits agreements with the state of Nevada and its localities, and clears hurdles in various federal laws to using the land at Yucca Mountain for waste storage.
SMUD utilizes dry storage for its spent nuclear fuel at the former nuclear power generation facility. In 1989, SMUD customers voted in a special election to shut down Rancho Seco. It was decommissioned in 2009.
Importantly for SMUD, an amendment led by Rep. Doris Matsui (D-CA) paves the way for a bipartisan compromise on interim storage. While the bill links approval of interim storage sites to a final determination on Yucca Mountain, the Matsui amendment would create a pathway for the Department of Energy to enter into an agreement with a private company to license and construct a single monitored, retrievable storage facility to accept waste from permanently shut down sites, such as Rancho Seco.
“SMUD has been working for years to find a way to remove legacy waste from the Rancho Seco site that closed in 1989,” said Arlen Orchard, SMUD General Manager and CEO. “We are extremely proud that our congresswoman, Doris Matsui, has led the charge to create that path after years of impasse. This is truly a historic moment for SMUD, for all permanently shut-down sites, and for Congress. Thank you, Rep. Matsui, for your bipartisan leadership that made the difference for SMUD and its community,” said Orchard.
SMUD spends approximately $5 million annually maintaining the spent fuel. SMUD must periodically recover federal funding through lawsuits to reimburse its storage costs. While the storage at Rancho Seco is safe and secure, SMUD customers should not have to bear the storage cost burden. The federal government made a commitment to accept and store spent fuel and it’s important to SMUD customers and the community that the government fulfills the commitment. SMUD looks forward to working with the House and Senate to advance the efforts of this Congress.