BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    Ó

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          29 (Chávez)

          As Amended  March 31, 2016

          Majority vote

          |Committee       |Votes|Ayes                  |Noes                |
          |                |     |                      |                    |
          |                |     |                      |                    |
          |                |     |                      |                    |
          |Environmental   |7-0  |Alejo, Dahle, Beth    |                    |
          |Safety          |     |Gaines, Gray, Lopez,  |                    |
          |                |     |McCarty, Ting         |                    |
          |                |     |                      |                    |
          |                |     |                      |                    |

          SUMMARY:  Urges the passage of the Interim Consolidated Storage  
          Act of 2015 (House Resolution (H.R.) 3643), and urges the United  
          States Department of Energy (US DOE) to implement the prompt and  
          safe relocation of spent nuclear fuel from the San Onofre  
          Nuclear Generating Station to a licensed and regulated interim  
          consolidated storage facility.  

          EFFECT:  None


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          Federal Nuclear Waste Policy:  Under the provisions of the  
          Nuclear Waste Policy Act (NWPA), the federal government has the  
          responsibility for managing spent nuclear fuel produced by  
          commercial reactors, and generators are responsible for bearing  
          the costs of permanent disposal.  The NWPA authorizes and  
          requires the US DOE to locate and build a permanent repository  
          and an interim storage facility and to develop a system to  
          safely transport spent fuel from nuclear power plants to the  
          repository and interim storage facility.  

          In 1987, Congress designated Yucca Mountain, a complex of  
          underground tunnels in Nevada, as a federal long-term geological  
          repository for nuclear waste.  However, the Obama Administration  
          has decided not to use the site and has appointed a Blue Ribbon  
          Commission on America's Nuclear Future (Commission) to find a  
          solution for permanent storage.  The Commission recommended that  
          efforts be made to develop a permanent disposal site for spent  
          nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste. 

          Without a centralized repository for spent nuclear fuel, nuclear  
          rods are exponentially accumulating at reactor sites across the  
          country.  In 2009, the United States had more than 60,000 tons  
          of nuclear waste at more than 100 temporary sites (primarily  
          nuclear power plants) around the country.  Plant owners thus  
          continue to be responsible for the safe storage of their spent  

          Nuclear power in California:  There are four nuclear power  
          plants in California, three of which have been closed or  
          decommissioned, including the Humboldt Bay Nuclear Power Plant,  
          the Rancho Seco Nuclear Power Plant, and the San Onofre Nuclear  
          Generating Station (SONGS). 


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          The remaining operating nuclear power plant in California is  
          Diablo Canyon Power Plant in San Luis Obispo County.  Diablo  
          Canyon had approximately 1,126 tons of spent fuel located at its  

          Natural disaster:  According to the 2007 State Working Group on  
          Earthquake Probabilities, California faces a 99.7% chance of a  
          magnitude 6.7 or larger earthquake during the next 30 years.   
          The likelihood of an even more powerful quake of magnitude 7.5  
          or greater in the next 30 years is 46%. 

          Diablo Canyon is designed to withstand a magnitude 7.5  
          earthquake.  The Hosgri Fault is 50 miles west of the plant and  
          is believed to have a maximum magnitude of 7.1.  The San Andreas  
          Fault is east of the plant and has had magnitude 7.8 quakes in  
          the past.  In 2008, however, the United State Geological Survey  
          located a new active fault, the "Shoreline" fault, within 1800  
          feet of the Diablo Canyon.  

          SONGS is designed to withstand a magnitude 7.0 earthquake.   
          SONGS is located five miles away from the Rose Canyon fault,  
          which has the potential to reach a magnitude 6.9 to 7.2  

          In March 2011, a 9.0 magnitude earthquake off the Pacific coast  
          of Japan created a tsunami and ultimately lead to a nuclear  
          meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant as a  
          result of serious damage to the plant's cooling systems.  It is  
          the largest nuclear disaster since the Chernobyl disaster of  
          1986 and the second disaster (after Chernobyl) to be given the  
          Level 7 event classification of the International Nuclear Event  
          Scale.  Coincidentally or not, this resolution is being heard on  
          the heels of the five-year anniversary of the Fukushima Daiichi  
          nuclear disaster. 


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          Interim Consolidated Storage Act of 2015:  H.R. 3643, also known  
          as the "Interim Consolidated Storage Act of 2015", would amend  
          the NWPA of 1982 to authorize the secretary of the US DOE to  
          enter into contracts for the storage of certain high-level  
          radioactive waste and spent nuclear fuel, take title to the  
          material, and use interest from the Nuclear Waste Fund to move  
          forward with interim storage sites. 

          H.R. 3643 allows nuclear waste from SONGS to be temporarily  
          stored off-site.  If the bill passes, waste could be moved  
          off-site within a few years, when it is cool enough for  
          transport.  A proposed interim storage site northeast of El  
          Paso, Texas, has been identified as a potential home for SONGS's  
          nuclear waste.

          It has bipartisan co-sponsorship, including California  
          Representatives Darrell Issa (R - San Diego), Jared Huffman (D -  
          Marin), Ami Bera (D - Rancho Cordova), Duncan Hunter, (R - San  
          Diego ), Scott Peters (D - San Diego), Ken Calvert (R - Inland  
          Empire), and Doris Matsui (D - Sacramento). 

          Analysis Prepared by:                                             
                          Paige Brokaw / E.S. & T.M. / (916) 319-3965  FN:  


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