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Introduced by   Senator White of Windham District and Senator Shumlin of Windham District

Referred to Committee on


Subject:  Conservation; dry cask storage of spent nuclear fuel rods

Statement of purpose:  This bill proposes to require the department of public service and the agency of natural resources to report to the general assembly with recommendations for the optimal siting within the state of a dry cask storage facility for spent nuclear fuel rods.  It requires that the recommendations address the proper role for a state authority, which may be charged with screening the state for sites, site evaluation, and facility construction and management responsibilities.  It requires the recommendations to establish the functions to be required of the agency of natural resources, the public service board, and the department of public service.  It requires that the recommendations contain provisions that require public input, local approval of facility siting, and legislative approval before siting may commence.


It is hereby enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Vermont:



(a)  By no later than January 15, 2009, the department of public service, in consultation with the agency of natural resources, shall present the general assembly with a recommended process for the optimal siting within the state of a dry cask storage facility for the long-term storage of spent nuclear fuel rods. The report shall include draft legislation that amends 10 V.S.A. chapter 161 to include the following components:

(1)  Establishment of a dry cask storage siting authority, with duties to include:

(A)  Screening the state to identify, classify, and compare potential alternative sites for a storage facility;

(B)  obtaining public input with regard to its duties;

(C)  establishing staff and statutory capabilities that are necessary in order for the authority to perform its functions;

(D)  preparing and submitting licensing applications and obtaining all authorizations required in order to perform its functions;

(E)  acquiring property, constructing, operating, maintaining, and closing facilities, and conducting any postclosure functions necessary for the site to become fully rehabilitated and available for use;

(F)  negotiating with any interested potential host municipalities;

(G)  obtaining the consent of a majority of the voters, present and voting at a duly warned meeting, of each municipality in which a proposed site is located;

(H)  preparing  a reasonably detailed budget;

(I)  establishing a grant program to provide technical assistance and other assistance to allow the effective participation of communities being considered for facility siting;

(J)  establishing a disposal fee, which shall be subject to approval by the public service board.

(2)  Requirements that the agency of natural resources establish dry cask storage siting requirements, screening and certification procedures and criteria, separation, recoverability, and facility design standards and draft license review procedures and standards.  These standards shall be developed in conformance with federal law and shall be sufficient to protect the environment and the public health for the lifetime of the facility.

(3)  Procedures and requirements for public comment with regard to the statutory process and any of its components.

(4)  Procedures and requirements for reports and manifests from generators of spent fuel concerning the quantities, concentrations, characteristics, expected generation rates, packaging, storage conditions, time constraints, and any other information reasonably necessary for the agency and the authority to carry out their responsibilities.

(5)  Procedures by which the public service board shall:

(A)  approve service fees and disposal fees established by the authority;  

(B)  utilize procedures similar to the rate-setting procedures in chapter 5 of Title 30;

(C)  review and approve, during any fee-approval proceeding, an amount for:

(i)  expenses incurred prior to and after the operating life of a nuclear power facility;

(ii)  costs of management of dry casks, including security costs; and

(iii)  construction costs;

(D)  determine, after public hearing, adequate financial assurance requirements to be specified as a condition for approval of fees under this section.

(6)  Provisions that require the department of public service to represent the public in dry cask storage proceedings.

(7)  Provisions that address the tax ramifications for any community in which a dry cask storage site is located.

(8)  Recommendations for how best to meet construction costs.

(9)  An overall statement of responsibilities of state entities and expected timelines by which specified actions are to be completed.

(b)  Draft legislation submitted under this act shall fully preserve the role of the legislature in approving petitions to characterize sites and shall require legislative approval before site construction may commence, as well as public service board approval, and any necessary permits from the agency of natural resources or any other state entity.

Published by:

The Vermont General Assembly
115 State Street
Montpelier, Vermont