February 01, 2024

Reps. Levin and Carbajal Reintroduce Bill to Improve Safe Storage of Spent Nuclear Fuel

Washington, D.C. – Reps. Mike Levin (CA-49) and Salud Carbajal (CA-24) today reintroduced the 100 Year Canister Life Act, HR 7172, which requires nuclear waste canisters to have a design life of at least 100 years. Current Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) regulations set the lifespan requirement of nuclear waste canisters at 40 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.

“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.”

"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."

Since taking office in 2019, Rep. Levin has made safety at the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (SONGS) and moving the spent nuclear fuel from facility some of his top priorities. As part of that work, he convened the SONGS Task Force to develop policy recommendations to address long-term storage and disposal solutions for spent nuclear fuel. The task force issued a report proposing federal legislation that requires spent nuclear fuel canisters to have a design life of at least 100 years. This legislation meets that recommendation in the report.

Rep. Levin also formed a bipartisan Congressional Spent Nuclear Fuel Solutions Caucus to address the challenges associated with stranded commercial spent fuel across the country.

To view the bill text of the 100 Year Canister Life Act, click here.