Reps. Carbajal and Levin Introduce Bill to Raise Safety Standards for Spent Nuclear Fuel

The legislation would more than double the required lifespan for nuclear waste canisters storing spent fuel at Diablo Canyon and other nuclear power plants

California Representatives Salud Carbajal (CA-24) and Mike Levin (CA-49) introduced legislation last week to raise the design standards on waste canisters for spent nuclear fuel.

The 100 Year Canister Act would require the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to change the minimum design lifespan for canisters from the current regulation of 40 years to 100 years.

This bill would ensure spent nuclear fuel remains safe within its canister for longer as more long-term solutions are developed to store and ultimately dispose of spent nuclear fuel.

"As we continue working towards long-term solutions for nuclear waste storage, it is important to raise the standards for on-site nuclear waste storage. Raising these standards will also raise the confidence that nearby communities have in the safety of nuclear power plants, and until there is an agreement on the final storage site for these fuels, this change isn’t just a good precaution, it’s a necessity," said Rep. Carbajal. "As the Representative for California’s only remaining active nuclear power plant at Diablo Canyon, I know that safety should be the paramount concern when it comes to nuclear power – and am proud to join Rep. Levin to champion this critical piece of legislation."

“There are over 3.5 million pounds of nuclear waste stored in my district at the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station. This waste sits on the coast, next to Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, on an active fault line,” said Rep. Levin. “While it’s essential that Congress and the Department of Energy find safe, consent-based permanent disposal solutions for this spent fuel, this bill would ensure the safe storage of spent nuclear fuel until we find a long-term solution.”

Congressman Carbajal considers safety the number one priority of continued operations at the nuclear power plant that he represents in Congress, Diablo Canyon Power Plant.

With the extended lifespan of the plant approved last year, Congressman Carbajal and the Biden-Harris Administration delivered $1.1 billion from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to enable continued safe operations of the plant until the first-in-the-West offshore wind platforms ready to take its place at the end of this decade.

Congressman Carbajal continues to work in Congress to achieve a permanent storage solution for spent nuclear fuel being generated by Diablo Canyon, which absent a long-term storage place must be stored onsite at the Avila Beach plant.

Both California lawmakers are members of the Spent Nuclear Fuel Solutions Caucus, with Rep. Levin serving as its Co-Chair.

The Caucus seeks to address the challenges associated with stranded commercial spent fuel across the country, and serve as a forum for Members of Congress who care about solving all commercial spent fuel issues.

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