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Legal Analysis of Commission Recommendations for Near-Term Actions

At the request of the staff to the Blue Ribbon Commission on America’s Nuclear Future (“BRC”), we have reviewed whether certain recommendations in the BRC’s July 29, 2011 Draft Report respecting near-term actions by the Department of Energy (“DOE”) or other officers or agencies in the Executive Branch can be implemented under existing law. These recommendations relate to:
(1) Initial steps to site, license and construct consolidated interim storage facilities for spent nuclear fuel (“spent fuel”);


Legal Background and Questions Concerning the Federal Government’s Contractual Obligations Under the “Standard Contracts” with “Utilities”

This Memorandum analyzes issues related to the Standard Contract between the U.S. Department of Energy (“DOE”) and the “utilities.” Beginning with a discussion of specific provisions of the Standard Contract, this Memorandum then analyzes the status of lawsuits involving the Standard Contract, reviews issues related to on-site storage of spent fuel and HLW, and assesses the prospects for modifying the current waste-disposal regime through Federal legislation or amendments to the Standard Contract.


Attachment 1 - Memo, Reply to Letter to Mr. Tim Frazier

This memo sets forth the Office of Standard Contract Management's current estimate of the US Government's liability in connection with the Government's partial breach of the "standard contracts" that it executed pursuant to the NWPA of 1982. The Office of Standard Contract Management estimates that liability, as of today and based on the analysis and qualifications set forth below, to be $15.4 billion.



At the request of the Blue Ribbon Commission Staff,1 Van Ness Feldman examined the following question: What commitments has the Federal Government made to states, communities, private companies, and others related to the disposal of used fuel and high-level wastes? Spent nuclear fuel (referred to herein as “used fuel”) and high-level radioactive waste (“HLW”) are the by-products of commercial nuclear energy generation, defense production of nuclear weapons materials, and research and medical activities that utilize nuclear reactors or fission product nuclides. This paper describes the Federal