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Matsui Introduces the STORE Nuclear Fuel Act

WASHINGTON, D.C. Congresswoman Doris Matsui (CA-06) reintroduced H.R. 2097, the Storage and Transportation of Residual and Excess (STORE) Nuclear Fuel Act. This bill creates a legislative framework to develop a consolidated interim storage program at the Department of Energy. It allows for both active and decommissioned nuclear power plants, with priority given to decommissioned plants, to move spent nuclear fuel to interim storage facilities.

“For years, the Federal government has delayed a long-term solution for spent nuclear fuel, creating an unfair and unsustainable burden on local communities,” said Congresswoman Matsui. “Local utilities, like SMUD in Sacramento, have been forced to spend millions to store this waste. I am proud to have helped secure $20 million last December for a pilot program to relocate spent nuclear fuel to interim storage facilities. However, a dedicated program is indispensable to keep communities safe from radioactive nuclear waste. The STORE Act is a responsible next step to establish this program and decouple controversial long-term policies from the urgency of quickly getting nuclear fuel out of communities that are burdened by radioactive waste. I urge my colleagues to swiftly pass this important legislation that will allow us to build out an interim program that puts communities at ease and allows communities to redevelop these decommissioned sites.”

“This bill facilitates and accelerates the most viable path to fulfill the federal government’s responsibility for removal of spent nuclear fuel from legacy sites,” said Paul Lau, CEO of SMUD. “SMUD supports this robust interim storage program that will save both taxpayers and ratepayers with a safe and far more efficient system for dealing with the nation’s spent fuel.  We urge support and swift passage of Rep. Matsui’s thoughtful legislation.”

The Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) – Sacramento’s public utility – stores spent nuclear fuel at the site of Rancho Seco Nuclear Generating Station, which SMUD operated until 1989. SMUD spends approximately $5 million annually maintaining the spent fuel, but the federal government has a statutory responsibility to store the material. Matsui’s legislation would, if enacted and exercised by the Secretary of Energy, provide a path to move spent nuclear fuel and lead to the elimination of these costs. Currently, SMUD must periodically recover federal funding through lawsuits to reimburse its storage costs.

Bill text can be found here. A fact sheet can be found here.

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