A NEVADA LOCAL GOVERNMENT PERSPECTIVE OF EUROPEAN NUCLEAR WASTE MANAGEMENT A report by the Joint City/County Impact Alleviation Committee Lincoln County and the City of Caliente, Nevada FORWARD The following is an overview of programs as presented to the Joint CityICounty Impact Alleviation Committee by and for the countries of France, Switzerland, Sweden and Germany. If the proposed Yucca Mountain Repository becomes reality, the impact to Lincoln County and the City of Caliente would be mostly related to transportation. We could have the equivalent of three rail cars per day through Lincoln County, each carrying 100 metric tons of spent fuel (nuclear waste). The proximity of the proposed site may also affect the County's economic future. In making this trip overseas our objectives were to meet with local government leaders and learn of any impacts, both negative and positive, similar programs may have had on their communities. We felt that if our Committee could learn more about nuclear energy it would help us better understand the associated waste program and give us more confidence in making decisions on impacts that will actually affect future generations more than ourselves. An additional objective was to identify the intergovernmental relationships employed in each European country to resolve key institutional impediments to siting radioactive waste management facilities. Our trip was financed through a grant from the Department of Energy using funds from the Nuclear Waste Fund which is derived from users of nuclear energy. This money is administered by the U.S. Department of Energy and is of the same source that provides Lincoln County and Caliente over one half million dollars per year to study the proposed repository. Each country we visited is working in cooperation with each other under the Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA) of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). This group was formed in 1972 and includes the United States, Canada, Australia, Japan, and,most European countries. East Germany may soon be the newest member. The objective of this organization is to share information on nuclear programs including world wide nuclear safety and waste disposal issues. Our tour took place during the period of June 25, 1990 -June 29, 1990. Participants were as follows: Mike Baughman Consultant to Lincoln County and the City of Caliente Marge Gunn Lincoln County Emergency Management Coordinator k n a r d Smith Lincoln County Commissioner H.D."Bud" Charlton Caliente City Councilman Geri Ann Stanton Lincoln County Nuclear Waste Planning Assistant Glenn Van Roekel Director o f Community Development for the City of Caliente Judy Foremaster Waste City of Caliente ~ u c l e a r Planning Assistant FRANCE Monday morning, June 25, our Committee met in Paris with Frank Goldner of the U.S. DOE and with Jean-Pierre Oliver, of the French Division of Radiation Protection and Waste Management. Mr. Goldner represents the U.S. Mission to OECD. Our scheduled visit to Soulaines, the site of a proposed new repository, had been canceled. It was explained that "outsiders" had convinced local government leaders at four sites being considered for the French repository for high-level waste to discontinue consultation and cooperation with the French government. Such loss of cooperation had forced French President Mitterand to impose a one year suspension, or moratorium on subsurface site characterization work at the four sites. The bottom line regarding not being able to tour Soulaines or meet with locals tl-we, was that the French government simply did not want anyone to further "rock the boat". Over the next few hours, as Mr. Oliver explained the French program to us, it seemed apparent their program had many similarities to the one here. Mr. Oliver further noted that at the time of the moratorium, work at one site had progressed to subsurface drilling. Seventy-five percent of France's electricity is generated by nuclear power plants. The French must import virtually all of the uranium fuel for these plants. Owing largely to the heavy dependence upon nuclear energy as a primary power source and a general lack of uranium he1 supplies within France, the French government programs in nuclear energy production and spent fuel management appear to extend well beyond those in the United States. Development and application of successful reprocessing techniques in France is an example. We learned that reprocessing does not eliminate the need for waste disposal. Reprocessing does reduce the volume but you still end up with "hot" waste that must be properly disposed of. Throughout Europe the expensive method of reprocessing is popular because they have no Uranium deposits and must import what they need fiom other nations. According to Mr. Oliver, the scientific communities of France and nearly every other country throughout the world have formed the consensus that deep geological disposal on land is the most appropriate means to isolate high-level waste. Mr. Oliver h r t h e r noted that many other disposal methods have been considered and largely dismissed as being technically, economically, and/or socially unacceptable. Transportation of waste in France has not been a problem or political issue. Both rail and trucks are used and are regulated by an international agency. While transportation of radioactive wastes has not been a major issue, political leaders and local residents in the vicinity of existing nuclear power plants are concerned that increasing volumes of interim stored spent fuels may not meet safety criteria in the event the repository program is further delayed. When we inquired about the public opinion of the proposed geologic disposal program w e were told the situation is similar to the U.S. It seems the need to address the problem is understoold but there is no one anxious to have it in their own "backyard." Mr. Oliver said the local officials and citizens at the Soulaines site supported that program mainly because of the economic benefits being offered to the community. That particular s:ite is not being considered for high-level waste, but rather for a low/intermediate level waste, similar to those at Beatty, Nevada; Barnwell, South Carolina; and Hanford, Washington. The situs colmmunity of a repository will receive tax incentives and other economic benefits. As a consequence of hosting the LLWIILW site, local governments in the vicinity of Soulaines will receive an estimated 34 million francs ($6,800,000.00 U.S.) in project related :in lieu of tax payments by the French government. Local government representatives in the Soulaines area have formed a committee to develop an equitable basis for distribution of said hnds between various communities in the area. T o date, funding has been used by these communities for schools, libraries, and other economic development programs. The French government is evaluating the feasibility of constructing an ionization plant in the Soulaines area as further economic benefit. The local government has the authority to review and approve the project as it does any other construction project proposed in its area. Local governments in France have the authority to issue what may be equivalent to a building permit. As such, one can readily see why the French government so desperately needs the cooperation of the local governments if they are to proceed. It should however be noted that France has the ability to employ a "strong-arm" approach if local cooperation is not forthcoming. Such an approach may be quite similar to that which the U.S. Congress may face concerning the State of :Nevada and Yucca Mountain. As in France, the Congress has vested state and local governments with certain rights of participation in the protection of the health, safety, and wellkire of their residents and Congress can just as easily take back such rights. The four high-level waste sites being studied each correspond to a specific geologic formation within France. They are clay, granite, shale and salt. According to Mr. Oliver, each of the four geologic types have been found to be satisfactory hosts for deep geologic repositories. Rather than the type of geologic structure, he suggested that the nature of specific formations (whether they be clay, granite, shale, or salt) was more important than the type of florrmation in selecting sites for deep geologic disposal. This would tend to contradict state~ments one hears within the United States concerning the apparent fact that certain geologic types such as volcanic tuff have advantages over others such as salt or crystallint: rock. For the most. part, we felt the French are sincere in the efforts they are taking to insure safety. The meeting was informative and We were surprised at the similarities between our program and theirs. We were disappointed that w e only received one point of view and were not able to meet with the local officials. It was the consensus of the group that existing activities warranted the decision to cancel our meeting and tour. The operation of and activities of the OECD Nuclear Energy Agency were explained to us by U.S. Department of Energy spokesman Frank Goldner. Mr. Goldner is one of only two DOE employees overseas, the other is in Japan. Mr. Oliver said that he viewed our visit as a way to share information that may help us understand the waste problem better. NEA's work in deep geologic disposal of radioactive wastes is focused upon risk management and reduction. About 213 of the agencies' work relates to safety assessments of repositories. NEA is working to develop techniques to allow long term performance assessments to be made. The agencies' work is paying particular attention to possible natural and man induced encroachments into deep geologic repositories. The other 113 of the agencies' work with deep geologic repositories concerns in-situ research. NEA believes that in-situ research is essential to evaluating the feasibility of potential repository sites. SWITZERLAND Tuesday, June 26th, we were met at the Zurich Airport by Verena Schatzmann, Public Relations Officer of the National Cooperative for the Storage of Radioactive Waste (NAGRA). After a two hour bus ride we arrived in the community of Kerns for a 6:00 P.M. meeting with local community leaders and additional NAGRA officials. Dr. Emil Kowalski, Director of NAGRA Repository Projects, welcomed us and made introductions. The nuclear power industry and the Swiss Confederation which oversees medical, industrial and research waste formed NAGRA in 1972. NAGRA is now responsible for the nations radioactive waste management. In 1979, the Swiss people voted in a law that guarantees safe permanent management and disposal of radioactive wastes as a prerequisite to the future development and use of nuclear energy in Switzerland. For existing nuclear plants, the law required generators to submit a plan guaranteeing the feasible and safe disposal of radioactive wastes as a condition for the extension of operational licenses beyond 1985. T h e Swiss plan for disposal of high level radioactive wastes anticipates construction and operation of a deep geologic repository. It was however noted by Dr. Kowalski, that the Swiss hope a central European repository will be developed eliminating the need for such a facility in Switzerland. The Swiss have 5 nuclear reactors that provide 4Wo of their electricity. The other 60% comes from hydropower. They pointed out several times that they are not contributing to the greenhouse effect because the Swiss have no coal or fossil-fueled power plants. Local government representatives at the meeting were Reto Zobrist, Cantonal Engineer of Nidwalden, and Roland Christen, former President of the community of Wolfenschiessen. Switzerland, about the size of North Carolina, is made up of 25 local government Cantons (states) and separate community governments are within each Canton. We were told that relations are cordial between NAGRA and the local governments. Additionally, the federal government has five agencies that support NAGRA's work. In the event that Switzerland finds it necessary to develop its own repository for high level radioactive wastes, such a facility would be scheduled to open around 2020. There are four geologic types being studied at four different sites but none of these areas are expected to host the repository, rather they are simply for research. The law could prohibit any new nuclear power plants from coming on line until the waste is properly capable ofbeing disposed. Aslow down in the waste management program could impede the nations ability to met future electrical energy needs using new nuclear power plants. Perhaps one of the most striking aspects of the Swiss radioactive waste management program is the extent to which local governments have been empowered with regard to the siting and construction process. Such empowerment stands in stark contrast to that afforded to local governments in the United States. The first step in site selection is to find and receive permission from a community. Mr. Zobrist explained that a Canton (state) cannot give permission without local approval. NAGRA must comply with local government laws. In addition to empowermerit of local governments, another important aspect to the Swiss radioactive waste management program is the extent to which responsibility for waste management remains vested with the generators of the waste. Unlike the United States, where responsibility for disposal of such wastes has been vested with the federal government, Swiss generators are responsible for the siting, development, operation, and decommissioning of the repository in Switzerland. Like the United States, these generators are responsible for bearing the full cost of high level radioactive waste management. The Swiss utilities and the Swiss Confederation appear to have the appropriate level of incentive to effectively resolve waste management issues. That incentive is squarely rooted in the future of the Swiss nuclear power industry. Further, the utilities are compelled to comply with all federal, state, and community laws. There is little if any federal sovereignty afforded to NAGRA at this point. It is also apparent that the generators are more capable of addressing state and local concerns in a "non-political" or business-like fashion. NAGRA is able to work directly with affected state and local governments to resolve repository related issues. In the united States, the federal government appears far to encumbered with political baggage to effectively deal at the state and local levels. The Swiss Confederation does not intend to provide any direct mitigation or compensation to cantons or communities which host either LLWIILW or high level waste repositories. Responsibility for such assistance to host areas is also vested with generators. According to Dr. Kowalski, NAGRA does not intend to offer any mitigation or compensation to host jurisdictions until after site characterization activities determine whether or not a site is technically suitable. Such a delay is intended at preventing any concerns over local governments being "bought-off' during the site characterization process. Following characterization, communities and states in which a suitable site is located will be encouraged to cooperate with NAGRA in defining an appropriate mitigation and compensation package. Dr. Kowalski suggested that such a package might include cash payments and Free electricity. During the characterization process, programs concerning local labor participation are actively pursued. NAGRA feels the laws that allow the local governments to oppose federal approval could be a problem. The Swiss, like the United States and French are also facing the "not in by backyard" scenario. They have found through their experience with the research sites, however, that once the community is able to hire a team of lawyers and consultants to check-out the project, this helps open the eyes of the people and they are more willing to accept it. Dr. Kowalski, provided our Committee with packaged information regarding the Swiss program, including the Grimsel Rock Laboratory which we would visit the next day.' He then adjourned the meeting so we could talk informally before they served dinner. Wednesday morning, we left Kerns for a beautiful bus ride high into the Alps and the Grimsel Laboratory. The pride the Swiss had spoke of the evening before, concerning their healthy environment was never more evident. Mile after mile, throughout the day we did not see a single piece of litter along their highways. While driving through Switzerland, one is struck with the meticulous care that the Swiss give to their natural environment. The Swiss country-side is beautihl almost beyond description. Yet this beauty is not "locked" up in national parks or wilderness areas. Rather, the Swiss people appear to be quite aware of the extreme limitations in the extent of their natural resources. As a consequence, what aFpears to be every square foot of land is intensively managed for the renewable consumptive use by the Swiss people. This was evident whether the resource being managed was grass for cows; water for hydroelectric power; forests for wood products; or land for housing. With all of its beauty and limitations in land and other natural resources, it is remarkable that the Swiss people are even willing to consider the use of any of these resources for the disposal of radioactive wastes. An understanding of the environmental context within which Swiss radioactive waste management programs are forced to operate, affords a perplexing contrast to the: situation here in the United States where land and other natural resources are readily abundant. This contrast is especially vivid when one considers the State of Nevada and the Yucca Mountain site. The Grimsel Laboratory is located some 6,000 feet below the surface. An alpine lake which feeds one of their hydroelectric plants is located directly above a portion of the laboratory. Dr. Kowalski guided us through the various test zones and explained the purpose of their experiments. 'The characteristic rock in the area is granite. A variety of geologic conditions exist. in the tunnels which enhance testing. There are dry and impermeable rock areas, damp zones and water-bearing fissures. They are currently studying ten areas relevant to high-level waste disposal. The projects are categorizedl to geo-physics, rock mechanics and hydro-geology. Repository safety analysis is an individual field of study in each category. The detail and technology involved in the tests is impressive. We were pleased to hear the Swiss are sharing this knowledge with other OECD member countries. The U.S. DOE and the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission are involved by contract to interact on information. The Lawrence Livermore and Berkeley Labs in California are in direct contact with the Grimsel Laboratory, which Dr. Kowalski claimed to be the most advanced in the world. SWEDEN We were met at the Stockholm Airport, 7:30 PM, Wednesday evening by Torsten Eng, International Relations Manager for SKB, the Swedish Nuclear Fuel and Waste Management Co.. SKB was formed as a consortium of Swedish nuclear utilities. The company is responsible for the siting, development, operation, and decommissioning of facilities for disposal of utility generated low, intermediate, and high level radioactive wastes in Sweden. We drove 75 miles to Forsmark and arrived about 9:30 PM for a dinner meeting with local community leaders. Staff and councilmembers of the municipality of Osthammar extended a warm reception to our Committee. They seemed to have as many questions concerning our relationship with America's nuclear program as we did with their role in the Swedish program. We enjoyed a long evening with a good dinner. The following morning, Thursday, Mr. Eng and the municipal representatives filled us in on the details of the Swedish nuclear program. At elections in 1980 the Swedes passed a referendum to phase out all nuclear power. Two plants are scheduled for decommissioning by 1995. Carl Johan Nassen, Director ofcommunity Development for Osthammars Kommun, told us the ban on nuclear power was a response to the U.S. Three Mile Island incident. Since the referendum was passed there has been much more public involvement in the nuclear program and the people feel more comfortable today with nuclear power than in 1980. Following the accident at Three Mile Island, the Swedish government instituted a national nuclear safety oversight committee. The committee was charged with reviewing the safety of Swedish nuclear facilities and to provide the public with information concerning nuclear safety and radiological risks. The committee does not have the authority to suspend the operations of any nuclear installations. Committee members attend a three week training course provided by the federal government. The local municipality of Osthammars is well represented on the national committee. As the host community for the Forsmark nuclear power plants, a Osthammars councilman who met with our group serves as a member of the national oversight committee. There are now four such committees in place in Sweden, providing oversight to the nations twelve nuclear power plants. The four committees meet quarterly to share information. It was noted by community representatives of Osthammars, that the oversight committee was instrumental in providing information which assisted Osthammars in deciding to host the SFR 1, a subseabed repository of LLW/ILW. Mr. Eng explained the waste program is funded by a 3 mil per KWH fee to power users (ours is 1 mil). They have uranium mines so Sweden does not reprocess waste. The final waste repository is scheduled to open about 2020. High-level waste is currently stored at a facility called CLAB. This facility is equal to the MRS our country is considering. The nuclear fuel will be stored at CLAB for about 40 years and then transferred to the final repository. During this 40 year period the fuels activity content and residual heat will decline by about 90'30. by The government expects to pick three sites for study of a high-level waste reposito~.y 1992. Current law allows a community to veto a proposed repository site, but the government is considering taking away the local government veto right. Local representatives from Osthammars expressed displeasure with federal government plans to eliminate such veto rights. They believe that the federal attempt to eliminate such right will be fought. The locals believe that a consensus of the national congress concerning a final repository site for HLW will be required. When the low/medium-level waste repository was planned for Forsmark, the local government committee personally informed the citizens and answered their questions. The city council held elections and the repository was accepted with no opposition. A community representative from Osthammars noted that because the area benefits from the Forsmark power plants, local residents generally felt responsible for assisting with radioactive waste management. A few summerhouse owners feared their property value would drop but the Greens (environmentalists) did not oppose the project. Forsmark now receives the medium life, 500 years, waste from all twelve of Sweden's reactors. Tran:sportation is 10Wo by sea and the repository is located under the Baltic Sea. The earth surrounding the repository is moving up and is expected to grow out of the sea in appr'oximately 2,000 years. The community receives money in exchange for licensing the repository. The main benefit to the area is jobs created by the three nuclear plants near the repository. Even though unemp~loymentis only four-tenths of one percent the local government is concerned about the expected closure of the areas iron mines which have been the backbone of the community for over 500 years. Following lunch, our Committee was given a tour of the Forsmark Nuclear Facility. Torsten Eng and Gunnar Schutz, who is information officer for Vattenfall (the Swedish Nuclear Power Board), served as our guides. Before going into the repository we were given an overview of the nuclear power plants operation, including the safety features, and saw a short video which provided more information on their program. Inside the sea-bed repository, we were able to observe the actual disposal operation. In one area we saw workers decontaminate a cask that had transported waste. The waste had been placeld in cells and surrounded by concrete. The area between the cell and the rock tunnel is then backfilled with bentonite clay to seal the area. ffier we completed our tour, Mr. Eng drove us back to Stockholm and we arrived at our hotel about 7:30 PM. FEDERAL REPUBLIC O F GERMANY We arrived in Hanover, Germany about noon, Friday, June 29th. We were met at the airport and taken directly to headquarters of the Deutsche Gesellschafi Zum Bau Und Betrieb Von Endglagern Fur Afbfallstoffe MBH (DBE). DBE assists the organization that runs the nuclear waste program for the federal government. Dr. Hans J. Engelmann and Joachim Lange greeted us, we were laterjoined by Rudiger Putzer who is project director of the Konrad mine, a proposed medium level waste repository. They had prepared documents and gave us an overview of the German program. Dr. Engelmann informed our group that DBE had been unsuccessful in arranging meetings with local government representatives. He noted that recent elections (a few days earlier) hatd left local governments in a state of transition. DBE had not yet established form.al working relationships with recently elected local officials. It was noted that the recent elections had resulted in the control of state politics moving to leaders who were generally in opposition to disposal of radioactive wastes within the local region. They explained that 34% of FRG's power is generated by 21 nuclear plants. All uranium utilized in West German nuclear power plants is imported. Spent he1 is shipped to Britain and France for reprocessing. The West Germans are studying salt deposits for final burial of high-level waste and hope to open a repository by the year 2,000. DBE is a German company that was formed in 1979 as a third party to construct and operate the repositories. The Germans are working with the other OECD countries to gain technology in the safe handling of nuclear waste. They are active participants with the Swiss at the Grimsel Lab. Until a high-levd waste repository is opened, they are storing the spent fuel in about 50 locations around the country. The temporary storage capacity will be sufficient until about 1995 when they must either expand existing sites or move it to a repository. Upon completion of this overview we were shown equipment that is used in their repositories. The equipment and low-level casks seemed to be standard from what was seen in other re:positories. We were told high level casks would be made of cast iron. C O N C L U S I O N S AND R E C O M M E N D A T I O N S Our tour through Europe ignited thoughts, ideas and conclusions beyond what knowledge could be attained strictly from visiting plants in the U.S. and receiving one sided information from our nuclear industry and the Department of Energy. The tour suggested that there are distinct differences and similarities between radioactive waste management programs in Europe and those in the United States. It was also apparent that certain European countries such as France intend to greatly increase nuclear energy production in the future. As the European Common Market moves ever closer to reality, nuclear energy continues to be viewed as a major component to expansion of Europe's industrial base. Management of radioactive wastes will continue to be an important issue for Europe in the future. The need for safe facilities for management of high-level nuclear waste cannot be denied. The United States in 1988 had 15,000 metric tons of waste stored temporarily all around the country. In just 10 years, that figure will nearly triple. The combined total of nuclear plants in the four countries we visited is 93. The United States has something like 110 in operation and several more under construction. Virtually every country throughout the world with nuclear power has decided deep geological disposal on land is the best way to dispose of high-level waste. There are other options that have been studied which include disposal in geologic formations under the deep ocean floor, disposal on the ocean floor, destruction by nuclear transudation, extended storage at production sites or in a centralized store, disposal in glaciated areas and disposal into space. Of all the above mentioned studies, sub-seabed disposal is the only method that is given serious consideration as an alternative to deep geologic disposal on land. Sub-seabed disposal's main advantage is the enormous dilution capacity provided by the ocean. Using the high sea, international cooperation would work well as the ocean is common property. However, the common property would also represent a major political complication. The Swiss oppose seabed disposal as they feel dilution of the water would eventually surpass safe standards. Disposal in glaciated areas would require substantial changes in political and legal agreements. Disposal into space would isolate the waste from our environment but the risk and cost argue against it. Nuclear transmutation, the conversion of high-level radionuclides into low-level or stable nuclides is not considered feasible in the near future. This all leads back to Yucca Mountain. In France Mr. Oliver told us many scientists feel Yucca Mountain may be the best site in the world because of its location in an unsaturated zone. The NEA believes that in-situ research is essential to evaluating the suitability of candidate disposal sites. Surely the opportunity to determine whether the Yucca Mountain site is truly suitable for a repository coupled with the probable economic benefits associated with site characterization, suggest that DOE should be encouraged to proceed with subsurface investigations. Given the "strong-arm" tactics that are being considered in both France and Sweden, it is not beyond comprehension to imagine Congress relieving the State of Nevada of its rights to administer air and water quality permitting as relates to the Yucca Mountain project. One current problem of international importance is the need to share our technology with the east block countries who are operating nuclear plants with questionable knowledge. For this purpose, France is hosting a meeting in September that will involve Russia and several other east block countries. The nuclear repository program in Sweden is perhaps ten years ahead of ours. The Swedes, because of their referendum to outlaw nuclear power, appear to be more willing to accept the responsibility for effectively managing wastes presently being generated. Another important aspect of the apparent success of the Swedish radioactive waste management program is the extent to which local governments have been closely involved with facility siting decisions. They now seem to have a handle on the nuclear program that no longer incites fear. It is expected the referendum will be voted out so they can continue with a clean energy source. The Swedes have had five separate investigations concerning a new energy source with no conclusions. They are already centralizing the waste at CLAB while we are still trying to decide if we will even have a monitored retrievable storage facility (MRS). We feel the opinion on the referendum reflects optimism on the part of nuclear generators and host communities in Sweden, rather than a solid expectation on the part of all Swedes. It certainly remains to be seen whether the referendum is indeed reversed. It is apparent that the Swedish government is beginning to give serious consideration to nuclear energy as a needed component of the nations electrical energy supply of the filture. It will be interesting to see if Swedish residents acceptance of radioactive waste management responsibilities continues to be pervasive if the referendum is reversed. It is suspected that public knawledge that nuclear power production is presently scheduled to end has a great deal to do with public acceptance of waste management facilities. Fallout from the Chernobyl accident was first discovered in Sweden. At first it was feared that there may be a problem with one of their own reactors. Until a U.S. Spy Satellite discovered the Russian accident, the Swedes were in a state of panic, trying to find the problem. This accident resulted in the public becoming even more involved. With the local government inspection committees and several other agencies and organizations overseeing the program, public trust and understanding seems to be on the rise. Key aspects to the apparent success of European radioactive waste management programs appear to be centered upon local government empowerment in facility siting, development, and operation processes; vesting ofthe responsibility for waste management with generators rather than the federal government; and a higher degree of trust by the public of their respective federal governments than is found here in the United States. It is important to note that within European nations, differing levels of successnare apparent. France, which has taken a federal government approach to waste management faces local opposition quite similar to that faced by DOE in the United States. Incentives for acceptance of a repository by a community are common throughout the countries we visited. Concern over impacts are also common. We believe now more than ever that an MRS should be in place as soon as possible. If the waste has a few years to cool before it is transported to a final repository, the threat of negative impact to the environment and people would be minimized. Based upon the Committees observations from site visits and meetings with utility and local government representatives in Europe, the following recommendations pertaining to radioactive waste management in the United States are offered: 1. That other local and state officials within Nevada arrange to tour European radioactive waste management facilities and arrange meetings with their government counterparts in such countries. It is also suggested that representatives of Nevada news media participate on such tours. There is much value to be gained in observing firsthand how other nations faced with much more severe natural resource limitations and strict environmental ethics are proceeding in their efforts to resolve radioactive waste management problems. 2. That the Congress consider shifting a greater, if not the entire, responsibility for spent nuclear he1 disposal back to the generators of such hel. Such vesting of liability might restore a needed incentive for effective resolution of present institutional constrains to radioactive waste management in the United States. 3. Under either scenarios of federal or generator responsibility, local governments should be significantly empowered to provide approval or disapproval of proposed facilities for the disposal of radioactive wastes. Rather than simple oversight, local governments should be afforded participatory rights in every aspect of the waste management system decision-making process. Such local empowerment is deemed crucial under a DOE administered repository program where public trust of the Agency is lacking. 4. Local governments in Nevada should be authorized to initiate an independent evaluation of the apparent suitability and uniqueness of the Yucca Mountain site as a geologic formation capable of confining radioactive wastes from the biosphere. Information derived from such an evaluation would be useful in providing the public with needed information about the Yucca Mountain site. 5. The United States should proceed expeditiously with establishment of an MRS. Such a facility would serve to alleviate short to intermediate term waste management constraints potentially faced by utilities. Successhl siting and development of an MRS might also serve to restore public confidence in the nation's ability to effectively manage radioactive wastes. Such confidence appears necessary to achieving any long-term resolution to the waste management issue. 6. The federal negotiator appointed by the President, should, in addition to monetary incentives, consider non-monetary incentives to hosting either an MRS or a permanent geologic repository. Such non-monetary benefits should embrace the local government empowerment principles described. 7. The DOE should move rapidly to accommodate the desires of states and affected units of local government with regard to procedures for implementation os Section 116(c)3 of the Nuclear Waste Policy Amendments Act as amended. The stubbornness which has been exhibited by the Department with regard to full accommodation of the states and local governments concerning the GETT issue, has served to further undermine cooperative activities of affected parties. G E T r like grants to affected governments in Europe appear to have been an important factor in achieving local acceptability of waste management programs there. Our schedule on this visit was intense. Before we lefl most of us were a little apprehensive about going. Once we got started it was felt the information we absorbed was fresh and that we would benefit from the varied approaches to this international problem. Should the Yucca Mountain Repository Project move forward, we feel the state and local governments would justifiably deserve impact assistance. Upon our return, we feel the Joint CityICounty Impact Alleviation Committee is now a little better prepared to address future issues and to represent Lincoln CountyfCaliente residents in a professional manner. The Joint CitlylCounty Impact Alleviation Committee would like to express their a appreciation tb the Department of Energy who approved this trip pursuant to grant guidelines set fbrth in the Nuclear Waste Policy Amendments Act of 1987.
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