Prohibition of federal funds for private interim storage of spent nuclear fuel

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U.S. Representative Henry Cuellar (Democrat-Texas) introduced an amendment at the House Appropriations Committee markup hearing and vote on Fiscal Year 2023 Energy & Water Development funding that would have prohibited any federal spending on privately-owned consolidated interim storage facilities for highly radioactive waste.

See the Cuellar amendment here:

6 28 22 Cuellar E&W Amendment

Rep. Cuellar did offer his amendment, but then withdrew it, for lack of enough votes on the committee.

U.S. Rep. Kay Granger (Republican-Texas) supported the amendment. She is the ranking Republican on the U.S. House Appropriations Committee.

Cuellar and Granger are opponents of the private CISF targeted at Andrews County in West Texas — Interim Storage Partners, LLC, at the Waste Control Specialists, LLC national “low-level” radioactive waste dump, just 0.37 miles from the New Mexico state line, and upstream from the Land of Enchantment.

U.S. Rep. Marcy Kaptur (Democrat-Ohio) opposed the amendment, arguing that decision is the jurisdiction of House authorizers, such as those on the House Energy & Commerce Committee. Kaptur has been a supporter of CISFs for many years. As chairwoman of the Energy & Water Development Subcommittee, she has led efforts to fund federal CISFs, year after year. This year’s funding represents a significant increase over past years. Fiscal Year 2022’s $18 million appropriation has been increased by $35 million, to $53 million in FY23.

U.S. Rep. Susie Lee (Democrat-Nevada) also opposed the amendment because it would “derail” DOE’s current “consent-based siting” process. Rep. Lee said she agrees with consent and supports DOE’s current work for consent for federal CISFs. The Nevada congressional delegation in both the U.S. House and Senate introduce a bill each session entitled the Nuclear Waste Informed Consent Act. It would give states an absolute veto against permanent geological repositories for high-level radioactive waste. However, the bill does not require consent-based siting for CISFs.

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