In 1987, Congress amended the Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1982 to establish Yucca Mountain as the nation's geologic repository for high-level nuclear waste. In 2008, the Department of Energy submitted a license application to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) to begin construction of the facility on federally owned desert land about 100 miles northwest of Las Vegas. Progress on the proposed storage facility has been stalled by opposition.
The Blue Ribbon Commission on America’s Nuclear Future (Blue Ribbon Commission) was established by President Obama’s January 29, 2010 Memorandum for the Secretary of Energy: Blue Ribbon Commission on America’s Nuclear Future to conduct a comprehensive review of policies for managing the storage, processing, and disposal of civilian and defense used nuclear fuel and nuclear waste. In 2012, the Blue Ribbon Commission issued recommendations to create a safe, long-term solution for managing and disposing of used nuclear fuel.
One of the Blue Ribbon Commission’s recommendations was consent-based Consolidated Interim Storage (CIS) as part of an integrated waste management plan. Two proposed CIS sites in the southwest are currently in licensing review with the NRC: a Holtec Eddy-Lea Energy Alliance facility in Carlsbad, New Mexico which already is home to a deep geologic depository called the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant, and an Interim Storage Partners (a joint venture between Waste Control Specialists and Orano USA) facility in Andrews, Texas.
CIS is part of DOE's waste management strategy that may contain (1) pilot interim storage facilities, initially focused on accepting spent nuclear fuel from shutdown reactor sites; (2) full-scale, consolidated interim storage facilities that provide greater capacity and flexibility within the waste management system; and (3) geologic repositories for spent nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste.
SCE has taken action in the interest of relocating SONGS used nuclear fuel to an offsite storage facility. SCE has engaged a team of experts – the “Experts Team ” – to advise SCE on any proposed relocation of SONGS used fuel. SCE has also issued a request for information (RFI) through which SCE will select a consultant to support the development of a Strategic Plan to assess the feasibility of relocating the used nuclear fuel. The Experts Team will review, advise upon, and support SCE’s development of the Strategic Plan.