Low-Level Radioactive Waste, Hearing Before the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, United States Senate, One Hundred Eighth Congress, Second Session to Receive Testimony Regarding Issues Related to Low-Level Radioactive Waste, September 30, 2004 [open pdf - 241KB]
From the prepared statement of Hon. Pete V. Domenici, U.S. Senator from New Mexico: "This oversight hearing of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee on the disposal of low-level radioactive waste shall come to order. The purpose of this hearing is to both evaluate and learn from a recent report issued by the Government Accountability Office on the potential disposal shortage for low-level radioactive waste in this country. While not an immediate problem, we must now pay close attention to prevent a potential future crisis. The GAO found that low-level radioactive waste disposal volumes increased 200 percent between 1999 and 2003, primarily due to this waste being shipped to commercial disposal facilities by the DOE. In 2008, which is not very far off, the Barnwell disposal facility in South Carolina is set to close to all states outside of its compact, some 34 states. The generators in these states will not have a disposal facility to send their waste. An example is that universities and hospitals that deal with nuclear medicine will have to find and pay for storage space on their campuses and buildings away from students, faculty and staff. One can only imagine that further regulatory expense and burden will be placed on these institutions as wastes build up with no where to go. This is something we need to prevent. I just referred to a ''compact,'' let me explain that term. In 1980, Congress enacted the Low-Level Radioactive Waste Policy Act, which required states to dispose of their own low-level waste. This act encouraged states to form interstate compacts, or regional associations of states, for the purpose of low-level radioactive waste disposal. The thinking was that this legislation would enable states to create additional low-level waste sites to prevent a possible shortage of disposal space. There were three disposal sites for low-level waste in 1980, today, there are still three. This act in 1980 was supposed to prevent the situation we are facing in 2008-a shortage of disposal space." Statements, letters, and materials submitted for the record include those of the following: Daniel K. Akaka, Jeff Bingaman, Pete V. Domenici, Dianne Feinstein, Christine Gelles, Edward G. McGinnis, Robin M. Nazzaro, Alan Pasternak.
S. Hrg. 108-756; Senate Hearing 108-756
Government Printing Office, Congressional Hearings: http://www.gpoaccess.gov/chearings/index.html