Reducing Storage Sites and Incorporating Broader Community Input Will Advance DOE’s Goal to Achieve an Equitable Process to Collect and Store Spent Nuclear Fuel

WASHINGTON, D.C.— The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) today released an updated version of its consent-based siting process that takes immediate action to engage with willing communities to host federal consolidated interim storage facilities, reducing the number of locations where commercial spent nuclear fuel is stored and easing the burden on U.S. taxpayers. This community-centered approach will help reduce health and safety impacts on disadvantaged and overburdened communities in line with President Biden’s environmental justice goals. Nuclear energy is the largest single source of clean power in the U.S. and an important asset to delivering affordable power to homes and businesses and meeting President Biden’s emissions reduction and climate change goals. DOE is responsible for the proper management and disposal of the nation’s spent nuclear fuel.

“Prioritizing constructive, community-based input around consent-based solutions has shaped our roadmap for advancing our nation’s spent nuclear fuel management,” said Assistant Secretary for Nuclear Energy Dr. Kathryn Huff.  “This process deepens our commitment to transparency and equity and moves us closer to our clean energy future.” 

While DOE expects to continue to update the consent-based siting process as more information is gathered from community and stakeholder engagement, this latest iteration details several guiding principles and values, including a commitment to protecting public health and safety, and the environment. In alignment with the Biden-Harris Administration's Justice 40 Initiative, environmental justice and social equity are prioritized to enable broad public participation and build public trust and confidence.

Four noteworthy updates to the consent-based siting process from the 2017 version include: 

  • Focusing specifically on siting one or more federal consolidated interim storage facilities 
  • Placing greater emphasis on equity and environmental justice 
  • Creating a larger role for host communities in developing site-specific assessment criteria 
  • Expanding consideration of funding opportunities, subject to availability of appropriations, to support community participation

The updated document builds on DOE’s 2017 Draft Consent-Based Siting Process and incorporates input received from Tribes, States, local governments, and members of the public since 2015. A 2021 request for information gathered input from the public and furthered the Department’s commitment to this effort. Additional expert reports and lessons learns from decades of nuclear waste management activity from across the globe have also been incorporated. 

Consent-based siting is managed by the Office of Nuclear Energy and directed by Congress to identify a site for a federal consolidated interim storage facility. 

Read DOE’s revised Consent-Based Siting Process document or visit the consent-based siting webpage for more information.


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