WASHINGTON, D.C.—Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski has introduced the Nuclear Fuel Storage Improvement Act (S. 1320), co-sponsored by Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.). The legislation would create two federal interim storage facilities to begin consolidating used nuclear fuel from U.S. nuclear power plants. The federal government has failed to accept used fuel from commercial nuclear facilities as required by federal law. Following is a statement on the bill from the Nuclear Energy Institute’s Alex Flint, senior vice president for governmental affairs:
“The nuclear industry applauds Senator Murkowski for her introduction of vital legislation to establish two federal central storage facilities for commercial used nuclear fuel. Industry also greatly appreciates Senator Mary Landrieu’s co-sponsorship at introduction of S.1320.
“There is growing consensus that developing centralized storage capacity is an essential near-term step for safely managing used nuclear fuel. A subcommittee of the bipartisan Blue Ribbon Commission on America’s Nuclear Future has recommended the development of such facilities. So did Massachusetts Institute of Technology in its report on the nuclear fuel cycle last year. It has been long-standing industry policy that the federal government must develop centralized storage for used fuel, in volunteer communities. Senator Murkowski’s legislation would incentivize host communities that develop these facilities and potential spinoff jobs that could be created.
“The events in Japan this year at Fukushima Daiichi have focused renewed attention on used fuel storage. While America’s used commercial fuel is stored safely and securely at each commercial reactor, federal law requires that the federal government move the fuel to a repository.
“Central storage is part of an integrated used nuclear fuel management system that will provide safe and secure stewardship of this material while allowing research on advanced fuel treatment technology options, and development of a permanent repository for ultimate disposal of used nuclear fuel or resulting byproducts.
“The nuclear industry looks forward to working with Senators Murkowski and Landrieu and other members of Congress to develop this legislation.”