July 31, 2020

Appropriations Package Passes House with Amendment by Levin to Prevent NRC Inspection Reductions at Facilities Like San Onofre

Washington, D.C. – Today, the House of Representatives passed a government funding package that includes an amendment U.S. Rep. Mike Levin (D-CA) introduced to prevent the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) from removing inspectors from nuclear power plants while spent nuclear fuel is being transferred from spent fuel pools to dry cask storage. His amendment was introduced in response to the NRC’s refusal to assign a resident inspector to the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station, and the NRC’s decision to skip multiple monthly onsite inspections this year. The amendment is also part of Rep. Levin’s larger effort to require resident inspectors at nuclear power plants in the fuel handling and transfer phases of decommissioning, as recommended by Levin's San Onofre Task Force. Additionally, the bill includes $27.5 million for interim storage of nuclear waste at the urging of Rep. Levin.

“One of my top priorities is addressing local challenges like the spent nuclear fuel at San Onofre, and I’m glad that the House appropriations package included my amendment to improve safety and prevent inspections reductions at nuclear power plants where spent fuel transfers are taking place. At San Onofre, we learned the hard way that the NRC should be strengthening its inspection regime, not weakening it. My amendment helps ensure the agency puts safety first,” said Rep. Levin. “This legislation also includes a number of bipartisan provisions I supported, including a pay raise for our troops, billions of dollars for climate research, more resources for the Small Business Administration, $9 billion to help the CDC prepare for public health emergencies like the coronavirus pandemic, and much more. I look forward to seeing my amendment and these priorities signed into law.”

In addition to Rep. Levin’s amendment on NRC inspections, the government funding legislation includes a number of provisions he supported, including:

  • A three percent pay raise for troops
  • $5.45 billion for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to address climate research, improvements in weather forecasting, harmful algal blooms, fisheries management, and STEM education
  • $939.4 million for the Small Business Administration, including $277 million for Entrepreneurial Development Programs and $140 million for Small Business Development Centers
  • $9 billion in emergency supplemental appropriations for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to improve the nation’s preparedness for public health emergencies
  • $2.85 billion for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy under the Department of Energy
  • A provision Rep. Levin requested directing the Department of Justice (DOJ) to make every effort to fully enforce Section 8122 of the SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act, which prohibits the payment of kickbacks for referrals to recovery homes, clinical treatment facilities, and laboratories
  • $85 million for drug courts and $30 million for veteran treatment courts

Last week, the House passed a separate government funding package that includes a number of other local priorities for North County San Diego and South Orange County.