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Welch Introduces House Legislation in Continued Push for Local Involvement in Nuclear Plant Decommissioning

April 20, 2016
Press Release
Congressman introduces Nuclear Plant Decommissioning Act of 2016

WASHINGTON – Rep. Peter Welch (D-VT) today introduced legislation that would ensure local communities have a significant role in the decommissioning of retired nuclear plants. The legislation also requires the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) to publically approve or reject proposed decommissioning plans to ensure appropriate accountability and transparency measures are in place.

The Nuclear Plan Decommissioning Act (H.R. 4998) is the House companion to S.964, led by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) in the Senate. 

“As we’ve seen with Vermont Yankee, the decommissioning of a nuclear power plant has a huge impact on local communities,” Rep. Peter Welch said. “This commonsense legislation ensures the decommissioning process is transparent, inclusive and collaborative so that all interested parties are heard.”

Specifically, the Nuclear Plant Decommissioning Act of 2016 would:
•    require licensees to consult with the host state and state and local governments within 50 miles of the plant when drafting a proposed decommissioning plan, also known as a Post Shutdown Decommissioning Activities Report (PSDAR). This consultation would help ensure that state and local concerns are identified and considered. 
•    require the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) to solicit public input on the proposed PSDAR before the document is finalized and approved. 
•    require the NRC to evaluate and formally adopt or reject a proposed decommissioning plan (which it is not required to do now under current law), thereby improving accountability and transparency. 
•    If a host state supports the proposed plan, the licensee can secure formal NRC approval in an expedited fashion; otherwise the NRC must consider amending the proposed plan based on the host state’s recommendations. This incentivizes collaboration between the licensee and the host state while ensuring a reasonable balance between them. 

Full text of the legislation, cosponsored by Rep. Castor (D-FL) and Rep Keating (D-MA), can be found HERE.