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involved in the legislation? In other words, the Federal Government is assuming responsibility for certain things. Ought we not state very clearly that the legislation is without any precedential value as to other projects elsewhere around the country and that it commits the United States to doing this much and no more, and that this should be carried forward only upon agreement with the State of New York and other interested parties, that there will be no further assumption of liability or risk on the part of the United States?

Dr. BATEMAN. I assume that is implied. Since the legislation just treats the specific activities described, I would assume that we don't have such authority unless it is specifically provided by the Congress.

Mr. DINGELL. It is not in the bill at this time, and the question is, as a matter of policy, ought we not see to it that it is?

Dr. BATEMAN. We certainly would have no objection to that as a matter of policy. It just seems to us that all legislation could carry such provision in the sense that this legislation only covers what it covers and is not intended to cover anything else.

Mr. DINGELL. How about a requirement that New York waives all further claims against the United States in exchange for the United States assuming these particular responsibilities?

Dr. BATEMAN. That seems different to me. I think that is a substantial change. I wouldn't pretend to speak for the State of New York-

Mr. DINGELL. I am not asking you to speak for the State of New York. You are an officer of the Department of Energy and of the Federal Government, appearing on behalf of the Federal Government. Speaking only in your capacity as a Federal officer, what are your views on that?

Dr. BATEMAN. I wouldn't support that until I had an opportunity to examine what those claims might be and what the merit of them might be, and so on. The legislation treats a very specific problem, and we are supporting that, and I personally haven't had an opportunity to examine what other claims might be made or what the merit of those claims might be. We are just treating a more narrow issue, I think.

Mr. DINGELL. I gather that you are indicating to me there probably are other claims coming down the pike, and, if so, what are they?

Dr. BATEMAN. I have no information to lead me to conclude that there are any other claims coming down the pike.

Mr. DINGELL. If there are no other claims coming down the pike, what is the reason for withholding the action I have just indicated? Dr. BATEMAN. I don't have any knowledge there are any claims coming down the pike, but it would seem to me that your first proposal, the way I interpreted it, was this was without prejudice to what else may happen. Going the next step, saying this precludes any other activity on the part of the State of New York with respect to West Valley, I could not agree with, because I don't know what claims we are talking about, and I couldn't judge, without knowing that, whether they would be in the national interest or not. So I just have to plead ignorance.

Mr. DINGELL. In other words, you are saying Uncle Sam should play the part of the fellow with the deep pocket


Mr. DINGELL [continuing]. With money to redress this problem, and stand ready to meet such other and further claims as the State of New York might assert in some future time?

Dr. BATEMAN. That could be, but it could also be the case the claim wouldn't merit any Federal involvement.

Mr. DINGELL. What are these other claims that might come forward?

Dr. BATEMAN. I don't have any knowledge of any other claims. Mr. DINGELL. Has any attempt been made to ascertain what other claims by the State of New York might come forward?

Dr. BATEMAN. Not to my knowledge; no.

Mr. DINGELL. Then you are asking us to legislate on this matter with a bag on our head, without knowing what further claims might be brought forward by the State of New York?

Dr. BATEMAN. I would just say if there are such claims, any action on our part would require action by the Congress on their merit, and until Congress ruled, we wouldn't be able to do anything about them.

Mr. DINGELL. Is there any legal responsibility on the part of the Federal Government to do those things which are involved in the bill at this time?

Dr. BATEMAN. Is there any legal responsibility?

Mr. DINGELL. On the part of the U.S. Government to do anything-that are set forth in the bill at this time?

Dr. BATEMAN. In my judgment we have no legal responsibility. Mr. DINGELL. So we are then doing an act of grace or addressing a moral consideration; is that right, depending on how you look at it?

Dr. BATEMAN. And I think there are also benefits to be derived from carrying out the project, but I think it does have those aspects; yes, sir. And I think we also have a substantial responsibility in getting the situation to where we now find it, by the Federal Government's action, and the uncertain regulatory environment that we have promoted in this area.

Mr. DINGELL. But we have no legal responsibility?

Dr. BATEMAN. I don't think we have a legal responsibility, but that is a legal judgment which I assume the Attorney General would have to ultimately rule on.

Mr. DINGELL. The General Accounting Office says we have no legal responsibility. What I am trying to figure out is if we accept these moral responsibilities, ought we not assure that this is the end of the acceptance of the moral responsibilities and that any further claims to be levied in connection with this matter by any person will be addressed and met by the State of New York, which is the entity which is legally responsible to do so?

Dr. BATEMAN. No, I don't really agree with that, but I think one could devise language to take care of what you are talking about, but leave open the possibility. You, sir, would not, I assume, want to put yourself in a position where 1 year from now, or 5 years from now, or at some other future time a claim was made that you felt merited Federal assistance, the consideration of which was

precluded from consideration by the Congress and by the President prior to it ever being made without knowledge of the specifics. That is the only part I am objecting to. I think we should limit our liability; we should try to understand as best we can what we are committing ourselves to, and it seems to me this legislation does that. Any future claim would require congressional legislation and authorization, and we would have to treat it at that time. I guess I don't understand the virtue in precluding in a blanket way any consideration in the future of any claim that the State might have with regard to knowing what it is or what its permit is. Mr. DINGELL. Have you ever been in an automobile accident, or did you run this through the legal counsel's office to establish what it is you should do? If you are in an automobile accident, or if you are in a piece of civil litigation, you get a settlement of claims, moral or legal, and it is always accompanied with a release of any and all other claims that might exist against the person who is making the payment. Out of curiosity, why should that not be done here?

Dr. BATEMAN. Because what is good for an insurance company may not be good for the Federal Government.

Mr. DINGELL. In other words, you are advocating the Federal Government leave itself open for further claims?

Dr. BATEMAN. I didn't say that.

Mr. DINGELL. I think that is what you are saying. If you are not saying that, why are you not in agreement?

Dr. BATEMAN. I am saying it shouldn't prejudge whether those claims should be honored or not, and that is different.

Mr. DINGELL. Let's go to the next point. DOE has identified 430 additional sites which require remedial action, and you have 490 surplus sites and 430 additional sites which require remedial action. Is this committing the United States in any particular course of action with regard to cleanup on that, meeting the cost of cleanup, and so forth, on a 90-to-10 basis?

Dr. BATEMAN. Yes, as a generic matter; I am just not familiar with the numbers you are using. They seem much larger than what I am familiar with.

Mr. DINGELL. I will yield to counsel to tell us what the numbers


Mr. WARD. I believe you have 430 surplus sites, as I recall, and you have 126 Manhattan Engineering District AEC sites, two different categories; is that not true?

Dr. BATEMAN. There are a number of different categories. There are sites that were used as part of MED, as either part of that category or a separate category, formerly used sites that were operated by contractors as part of the atomic energy program. There are milltailing sites. I mean, I am not clear on which ones you are referring to and what legislation you are referring to. Mr. DINGELL. For the record, Mr. Bateman, would you furnish the number of other sites which might be involved in similar legislation such as this in the future?


[The following information was received for the record:]


Because of the substantial technology demonstration aspects of the solidification project, the Department does not view H.R. 6865 as establishing a precedent

for remedial action projects.

However, other remedial action legislation has established some precedents
which could apply in future actions. The Grand Junction Remedial Action
Project has been authorized by Congress as a jointly funded, State-operated
program of individual projects to alleviate exposures due to the presence
of uranium mill tailings used in the construction of residences and public
or commercial structures in the vicinity of Grand Junction, Colorado.
Approximately 800 sites are expected to be effected by this program.
PL 92-314 and PL 95-236 the Federal Government funds 75% of the costs of
these actions and the State 25%.


Public Law 95-604, the "Uranium Mill Tailings Radiation Control Act of 1978," authorized DOE to undertake a program at designated inactive uranium mill tailings processing sites and vicinity properties in order to stabilize and control the tailings and to minimize radiation health hazards to the public. In November 1979, 25 sites were designated under this program. Costs are to be shared, with the Federal Government funding 90% of the costs and the States 10%. The Federal Government will fund 100% of the costs for actions to be taken on Indian lands.

There is currently an inventory of about 100 DOE-owned facilities which were used in commercial nuclear programs conducted by the Atomic Energy Commission and that have now been designated as surplus to programmatic needs. The inventory includes reactors, laboratories, test facilities, and waste handling and disposal facilities, most of which are at major sites operated by DOE. The Federal Government will fund 100% of the costs associated with the surplus facilities program.

The Formerly Utilized Manhattan Engineering District/Atomic Energy Commission (MED/AEC) Sites Remedial Action Program is designed to remove radioactive contamination from sites which were used by the Government or its contractors in MED/AEC programs. Surveys indicate that about 30 sites will require decontamination to meet current standards for unrestricted use. The Department will be submitting legislation this year requesting authorization to undertake actions at these sites on the basis of the Federal Government funding 100% of the costs.

Mr. DINGELL. Now, let's assume that we agree to fund on a 90 to 10 basis the liquid high-level waste program for the State of New York here at the West Valley site. There are also two other sites in the area, one a New York licensed site, and one an NRC licensed site. What assurances do you give us we won't be called upon to address cleanup of those sites at some future time?

Dr. BATEMAN. The Department of Energy and the administration has no proposal for any Federal involvement, apart from the NRC, in either of those sites.

Mr. DINGELL. That doesn't say

Dr. BATEMAN. The State has responsibility for the commercial low-level waste burial ground, and we want to keep it that way. We intend to do everything we can to keep it that way, and NRC has jurisdiction over the other waste burial ground, which is the way we would like to keep it.

Mr. DINGELL. I am going to yield to counsel for a question. Mr. WARD. Has the State expressed interest in seeing certain remedial action performed at the NRC-licensed site?

Dr. BATEMAN. Not to us they haven't; no, sir.

Mr. WARD. You say not to you. Did you not enter into an agreement last March with the State of New York, signed by you and Mr. Larocca, regarding a remedial action?


Mr. WARD. I quote to you from your agreement; the paragraphs are unnumbered, but it says, "Spent fuel buried in the high-level waste burial ground would be exhumed by Nuclear Fuel Services and placed in retrievable storage and transferred to a permanent Federal repository as soon as practical."

Dr. BATEMAN. I don't know what you are referring to, but it is not anything that we agreed to.

Mr. DINGELL. This is in the GAO study. It is entitled "Agreement in Principle between DOE and the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority for West Valley." The language in question says as follows:

Spent fuel buried in the high-level burial ground would be exhumed by Nuclear Fuel Services and placed in retrievable storage and transferred to a permanent Federal repository as soon as practical. No further operation of high-level burial ground would be permitted.

Are you familiar with that?

Dr. BATEMAN. That is not anything that was signed by me. This issue has been the subject of many discussions between ourselves and the State, and the agreement that we have come to is that-at least I can't speak for anyone else in the Department who may have done something else-but the only thing Mr. Larocca and I have agreed to is to urge the NRC to examine this problem and to make recommendations to the Congress for what actions they see fit.

Mr. DINGELL. Well, it says here, in connection with this appendix I, it says DOE Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary for Energy and Technology and the Chairman of the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority reached an agreement in principle in March 1979 concerning program lements which each would pursue with his superior providing overall disposition of West Valley's issues.

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