House subcommittee holds hearing on nuclear material shipping

The House Subcommittee on Environment and the Economy held a hearing Thursday to examine the shipping of nuclear material within the U.S., with logistical aspects being brought in to question.

Witness testimony was delivered by Kelly Horn, co-chairman of the Midwestern Radioactive Materials Transportation Committee; Edward Hamberger, president and CEO of the Association of American Railroads; Christopher Kouts, managing partner at Kouts Consulting; and Robert Quinn, chair of the U.S. Nuclear Infrastructure Council.

“Congress and (the Department of Energy) must remain attentive to comprehensive issues associated with used fuel management policy," Subcommittee Chairman Rep. John Shimkus (R-IL) said. "Today’s hearing reaffirmed the fact that engaging with state and local stakeholders to share information, identify routes and train emergency responders is of utmost importance when formulating a long-term plan to transport nuclear material."

Testimony from witnesses indicated that the U.S. is capable of transporting nuclear material and spent nuclear fuel in a safe manner. Quinn stated that no member of the public has been harmed by radioactive release in the U.S. related to the transport of nuclear materials during a span of approximately 70 years.

For some witnesses, the matter of destination was a necessary discussion for the transport of nuclear material.

“If policymakers determine that a single or several regional repositories for spent nuclear fuel (SNF) are in the public interest, the railroads will work with the relevant entities on all issues regarding the transportation of SNF to those repositories,” Hamberger said.

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U.S. House Committee on Energy and Commerce

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