DATE:August 9, 1999
TO:Chief Executive Officers
SUBJECT:Senate Consideration of S. 1287
ACTION:Contact Your Senators During Congressional Recess

I am writing to seek your support and corporate commitment for passage of the Nuclear Waste Policy Act, S. 1287. As part of that commitment I encourage you and your leadership team to contact the U.S. Senators and House members in your state during this last extended congressional recess period and urge them to support passage of the Nuclear Waste Policy Act. Your support of this legislation is essential to garner the votes necessary to override a possible White House veto.

S. 1287, as passed by the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, reflects both the industry's key concepts as well as provisions added as a result of negotiations with Senator Jeff Bingaman and the Energy's Department. NEI's Executive Committee supported these “bottom line” concepts in May, as was described in Erle Nye's letter to you on June 28.

Several members of the Executive Committee and I met with Majority Leader Lott and other Senate leaders in late July to discuss the strategy for passage of the bill and the leadership's commitment to schedule a vote on S. 1287 this fall. They expressed their commitment to pass this bill in the Senate and send it to the House for action.

I have sent with letter a copy of an August 2, 1999 memorandum from Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott outlining the list of priority issues that the U.S. Senate will consider in September. As you can see, consideration of the Nuclear Waste Policy Act is among the priority items to be considered after the Labor Day recess.

The Senate bill includes the following provisions:

  • provides a realistic date (2007) for early acceptance of fuel at Yucca Mountain before the repository opens in lieu of developing a central interim storage facility;

  • authorizes transfer of used fuel to a private storage facility for cases where continued plant operation is jeopardized unless used fuel is removed from the site;

  • continues the Nuclear Waste Fund fee at 1 mill and protects against unjustified increases in the fee;

  • allows the Energy Secretary to settle contract disputes, including take title;

  • provided that settlements — with the exception of the cost of storage containers — cannot be funded by the Nuclear Waste Fund;

  • maintains the integrity of the fuel acceptance queue;

  • establishes a science-based radiation protection standard; and

  • provides a workable and safe transportation system.

Together, the industry has made substantial progress in shaping a bill that can be passed by this Congress. Because this is the last extended period of time this session for members of Congress to travel back to their states, please take every opportunity to contact your senators and congressmen to encourage their support of the Nuclear Waste Policy Act. In addition to your personal contacts, NEI is coordinating special efforts to communicate the importance of this issue to those senators whose votes are critical to securing a veto-proof margin.

I will keep you fully informed of progress in our discussion with the Senate and House leadership. Also, I encourage you to contact me, or a member of our senior management team, if you have questions or feedback as a result of your conversations with members of Congress during the recess. Thanks you for your continued personal support on this important issue.


Joe F. Colvin


Nuclear Strategic Issues Advisory Committee
Communications Officers
Government Affairs Officers
Governmental Affairs Advisory Committee
Washington Representatives
Spent Nuclear Fuel Working Group

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