The Department of Energy is seeking comments on a proposed new process for communities to volunteer to store nuclear waste.
Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Nuclear Energy Kathryn Huff announced on Tuesday that the United States would seek information on potential locations for the siting of waste repositories on a consent basis.
“We cannot continue to postpone this challenge for future generations to find out,” Huff said during a press call Tuesday, noting that spent nuclear fuel is currently stored at reactor sites, which are not have not accepted long-term storage.
Asked if the department was concerned about the unwillingness of communities to host such a site, Huff said the process would try to involve as many communities as possible “to maximize our chances of finding a community that be prepared to take on this responsibility.”
“At the end of the day, we’re very optimistic and hopeful,” she added, citing the successful use of the consent-based process in other countries.
The ministry will be requesting responses to the RFI until March 4, 2022.
“Listening and then working with communities interested in hosting one of these facilities is the best way to finally solve the nation’s spent nuclear fuel management issues,” the Energy Secretary said. Jennifer GranholmJennifer GranholmBiden: A good coach knows when to switch teams Overnight Energy & Environment – Biden announces green building initiative Overnight Energy & Environment – Earth records its hottest years ever MORE said in a statement. “We know there are real benefits to creating jobs in new infrastructure that will generate interest in parts of the country. Public input is essential in identifying these locations to make this process as inclusive and efficient as possible.
Until 2010, Yucca Mountain was designated as a nuclear waste disposal site, but was never used for storage. The federal government has largely managed the waste on a case-by-case basis since it stopped using the facility. In a September report, the Government Accountability Office called on Congress to address these issues by amending the Nuclear Waste Policy Act to allow the department to create a new site selection process.