As Congress moves through the budgeting process, committees in both the House and Senate took up the Department of Energy’s budget earlier this month. Buried in the hours of testimony is some very interesting – and very positive – comments made regarding the future of interim storage of Spent Nuclear Fuel. The comments came from Secretary of Energy, Ernest Moniz, testifying before those committees.

When the subject turned to used nuclear fuel storage, Moniz left no doubt where he stood. To view some of that testimony, please check out the video clip we’ve posted on our storage website:


During the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Energy hearing, Senator Lamar Alexander asked the Secretary if he thought there was a role for private storage in the options for storing used nuclear fuel.

Here is the Secretary’s response.

 “Yes, we certainly do see a role for private storage and it’s my understanding the NRC will be receiving an application this year.”

The Senator went on to ask him what advantages there were in private storage. Secretary Moniz responds:

“We think private storage could have advantages in an accelerated schedule potentially, more flexibility and also getting a confirmed cost up early so I think there could be many advantages.”

The video of the entire exchange can be viewed at the web site devoted entirely to our proposal to construct and operate a consolidated interim storage facility.

It is encouraging to see the interest in consolidated interim storage with private entities from both House and Senate and the support from the DOE.

The conversation between Senator Alexander and Secretary Moniz came on the heels of positive testimony before the House Energy and Commerce committee the week before.

Congressman Welch, one of the co-sponsors of a bill that would provide DOE the authorization to contract with private entities to take waste and a mechanism pay for it, asked Secretary Moniz what the possibilities were for private interim storage.

Secretary Moniz indicated the DOE was very positive about private storage opportunities and reiterated the need for Congressional action.

“…the issue that has arisen with Texas and the possibility of a private site is one that we would support if Congress provides clarity that this is an acceptable path forward,” said Moniz.

I don’t think there was any doubt about Senator Diane Feinstein’s thoughts about whether DOE should move forward with the possibility of a private site when she said, “Will you [DOE] move ahead with it?”

Let’s hope this ongoing interest from both House and Senate and oversight committees translates into congressional action in 2016.