September 20, 2022

Department of Energy Awards Funding Rep. Mike Levin Secured to Advance Consent-Based Storage of Nuclear Waste

Washington, D.C. – Today, the Department of Energy (DOE) announced it is awarding $16 million Rep. Mike Levin (D-CA) helped secure to communities that may be willing to host spent nuclear fuel, including the waste at San Onofre. At least six communities will receive funding to facilitate information gathering and public engagement on the potential to host spent nuclear fuel.

“One of my top priorities since my first day in office has been moving the nuclear waste at San Onofre away from the region as quickly and safely as possible,” said Rep. Levin. “I am glad to see the Department of Energy taking another important step in the process of establishing a consent-based site for the storage of spent nuclear fuel currently at San Onofre. While we have much more work ahead to finally move the waste, this long-overdue progress is very encouraging, and I look forward to seeing the results from the award recipients.”

According to the DOE, the funding will support communities “interested in learning more about consent-based siting, management of spent nuclear fuel, and consolidated interim storage facility siting considerations. Award recipients will advance mutual learning within communities, facilitate access to information, and foster open discussions.” DOE plans to fund 6 to 8 geographically diverse awardees over a period of 18 to 24 months.

Representative Levin has been a longtime advocate for solutions to move the waste at San Onofre out of the region. In March 2020, Rep. Levin called on the House Appropriations Committee to fund a federal consolidated interim storage program at the DOE. In December 2020, Rep. Levin voted for bipartisan Fiscal Year 2021 government funding legislation that included $20 million for the interim storage of spent nuclear fuel, as was requested in Rep. Levin’s letter. That legislation was subsequently signed into law, and funding under the law enabled the DOE to restart the consent-based siting process last November. Rep. Levin then secured an additional $20 million in Fiscal Year 2022 for DOE to continue this work. The additional funding allowed DOE to issue a Funding Opportunity Announcement to allow interested groups, communities, states, or Tribes to gather more information on whether they might be willing to host a federal consolidated interim storage site or permanent repository.