Executive
Committee
Philip Bradley, Chairman
South Carolina Public Service Commission
NUCLEAR
WASTE
STRATEGY COALITION
Robert Caputick, Director of Government Affiars
Yankee Atomic/Connecticut Yankee
Susan Clark, Commissioner
Florida Public Serivce Commission
Robert Hern, Assistant VP and Manager of Federal Affairs
Detroit Edison
Steve Minn, Commissioner
Minnesota Department of Public Service

September 2, 1999

Mr. Joe Colvin
President and Chief Executive Office
Nuclear Energy Institute
1776 I Street, NW
Washington, DC 20006-7308

Dear Mr. Colvin:

On behalf of the Nuclear Waste Strategy Coalition (NWSC), I would like to express concern regarding your August 19, 1999, letter to nuclear industry Chief Executive Officers. This letter encouraged their “support and corporate commitment for passage of the Nuclear Waste Policy Act, S. 1287.” NEI's efforts to seek passage of S. 1287 in its present form, by a veto-proof margin, is a grave concern to members of NWSC, particularly to state utility regulators.

In the past, NEI member utilities have aligned their interests and positions with those of the states. Consequently, our combined commitment to resolving the nuclear waste dilemma has been effective. Together, we have opposed the take-title concept and the notion of paying on-site storage costs from the Nuclear Waste Fund (NWF). The NWSC would like all Coalition members to continue to acknowledge the DOE's obligation to remove high-level nuclear waste from power plant sites across the nation and to continue to support a legislative solution to the federal government inaction. The Coalition has been unwilling to release the federal government from its obligations and liability for damages.

The NWSC is concerned that over time state utility regulators and NEI's interest have diverged. Our efficacy is rooted in our common need to protect ratepayers from paying excessive or duplicative costs for nuclear waste disposal. If we are united in our efforts, the federal government would be less inclined to pursue a course of action that would increase the cost of spent nuclear fuel disposal. Unless appropriate changes are made in S. 1287, the nation's ratepayers and utilities may be asked to share the burden of those cost increases.

In its currant form, S. 1287 is unacceptable from the point of view of state regulators' for the following reasons: a) It does not provide for a centralized interim storage facility; b) It does not move the nuclear waste away from plant sites by an enforceable date certain; c) It does not protect the ratepayers from the misuse of NWF payments or from increasing costs of nuclear waste storage. To protect ratepayers, these provisions must be addresses in S. 1287, if state regulators are expected to support this bill.

We would like to continue a mutually cooperative relationship with the NEI. We must develop language that address the aforementioned points, so that we can present a united effort in nuclear waste legislation.

I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Sincerely;

Steve Minn
Commissioner, Minnesota Department of Public Service, on behalf of
the Nuclear Waste Strategy Coalition Executive Committee



c: 

NEI Chief Executive Officers
National Governors Association
National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners
Directors, Governors Washington DC Office
Nuclear Waste Strategy Coalition




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