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OPENING STATEMENT OF HON. JAMES A. McCLURE, U.S. SENATOR FROM THE STATE OF IDAHO

Senator MCCLURE. Yes, Mr. Chairman.

I am particularly pleased that we are beginning the series of hearings today on what I consider to be one of the most pressing problems facing us, the problem of establishing an effective program for the safe and timely management of radioactive waste materials.

A number of factors combine to make this problem a particularly difficult and urgent one. Past inadequacies in the Government management of existing radioactive waste, repeated changes in the Government program and approaches to the permanent waste disposal problem, failures by the established Government agencies to set realistic time schedules and deadlines and adhere to them, and insensitivity on the part of Federal officials to the special interests of the States and localities in this area have all combined to undermine public confidence in the Government's ability to put in place in a timely manner the facilities to safely dispose of these materials.

Other difficulties are created by the fact that no fewer than three Federal agencies-the Department of Energy, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission-have some responsibility for control of the storage and disposal of radioactive waste.

Twenty-five agreement States also have potential regulatory responsibility in this area, and at least two other Federal agencies-the Department of Transportation and the U.S. Geological Survey—are to some extent directly involved.

We are rapidly approaching a critical point where operating storage disposal facilities will be needed if our nuclear powerplants are to continue to operate and satisfy an increasing percentage of this country's power needs.

For this reason, I believe that these hearings are particularly timely. Also, as you mentioned, Mr. Chairman, the Department of Energy released last week its task force report for "Review of Nuclear Waste Management.'

Because this report makes a number of new policy recommendations and is to serve as a starting point of the Administration's development of a waste management plan, it may provide a useful basis for cause during these hearings. In that regard, there are a number of aspects concerning the report that I find disturbing.

First, the report clearly states that it does not establish new policy or commit the Department of Energy to new programs or schedules. Although, it has been almost 1 year since the President directed a review of the entire waste management program, there is still not a single responsible individual at the policy level in this administration who has committed himself to a definitive plan for solving our radioactive waste management problem.

Second, although the report offers assurance that high-level radioactive waste can be disposed of safely, it also predicts substantial delays in a permanent repository for commercial waste. The schedule for the waste isolation pilot plant, intended to demonstrate the long-term disposal of commercial high-level waste, the report cautions that delays may occur here as well.

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NUCLEAR WASTE MANAGEMENT

HEARINGS

BEFORE THE

SUBCOMMITTEE ON NUCLEAR REGULATION.

OF THE

COMMITTEE ON

ENVIRONMENT AND PUBLIC WORKS.
UNITED STATES. SENATE.
NINETY-FIFTH (CONGRESS.

SECOND SESSION

ON

S. 2761

A BILL TO DELEGATE POWER TO THE STATES, THROUGH
THEIR STATE LEGISLATURES, TO DISAPPROVE CERTAIN
SPECIFIED ACTIVITIES LICENSED BY THE NUCLEAR REG-
ULATORY COMMISSION, AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES

S. 2804

A BILL TO EXPAND THE LICENSING AND RELATED AU-
THORITY OF THE NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION
FOR CERTAIN SPECIFIED ACTIVITIES, AND FOR OTHER

PURPOSES
S. 3146

A BILL TO EXPAND THE JURISDICTION OF THE NU-
CLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION OVER NUCLEAR WASTE
STORAGE AND DISPOSAL FACILITIES, AND FOR OTHER

PURPOSES

MARCH 22, APRIL 4, 5, JUNE 14, AND 20, 1978

SERIAL NO. 95-H58

Printed for the use of the Committee on Environment and Public Works

28-907 O

U.S. GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE

WASHINGTON: 1978

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