In the spirit of the season, groups representing the nuclear industry and nuclear professionals were perfectly courteous and appropriately thankful for the $6 billion in credits provided for struggling nuclear power plants by the bipartisan infrastructure deal signed into law on Nov. 15.
Though buried amid a thousand pages of legislative text, details about the credits were easy to spot — they stood in such sharp relief against the monolithic omission of any policy whatsoever about spent nuclear fuel storage.
It made some of us here at the Exchange Monitor wonder: if spent fuel doesn’t belong in a must-pass infrastructure plan wound up with a President’s legacy in the first half of his first term while his party controls the government and his cabinet daily extols the virtues of carbon-free electricity generation, where does it belong?
Meanwhile, days before an elaborate White House bill-signing ceremony, the state of New Mexico made sure that the can wouldn’t be the only thing to get a good kick on infrastructure week.
On Nov. 13, the Land of Enchantment — host to the country’s only purpose-built, deep-underground repository for transuranic waste — sued the Nuclear Regulatory Commission over a proposed, commercially operated interim storage facility that won’t even be built in New Mexico.
This, of course, was months after Texas sued the Commission over the same facility, which if built would be operated by the Interim Storage Partners team of Orano USA and Waste Control Specialists in Andrews County, Texas, where the latter already operates a low-level waste disposal facility.
So, infrastructure week came at last, and two ideologically divergent states seized the moment to forge a bipartisan consensus that infrastructure ought not to be built in their territories.
When you think of it that way, it feels like anything is possible.
Well, almost anything.