Taxing Nuclear Waste Discussed

(Photo by Micromedia Publications)

  LACEY – Can nuclear waste be taxed and if so can it benefit the township?

  A Forked River resident believes that it can and recently brought up news of pending legislation that Township officials could take advantage of.

  The idea came up during a discussion about the ongoing decommissioning of the Oyster Creek Generating Station at a recent Township Committee meeting. Oyster Creek was the oldest operating nuclear power plant in the United States.

  The resident called for the mayor and committee to support legislation approved in New York that would allow that state to tax nuclear waste. This legislation is expected to be passed in New Jersey. “We need to do something in New Jersey and you will need to be involved in that.” he said.

   The purpose of New York State Senate Bill S3443A is to include spent nuclear fuel, from a nuclear power station that has ceased operations, in the definition of real property. It includes spent fuel set for final disposal from a nuclear power station following permanent cessation of power operations of a nuclear facility.

  He referenced additional legislation in New Jersey that would do the same and proposals that would allow for nuclear waste “to be taxed at $15 a kilogram. We could keep $500,000 in town. I would say write a letter and get these people off their behinds and get this enacted.”

  Mayor Steven Kennis said he wanted to sit down and go over the details of that information to present it at a future Safety Advisory Panel meeting. The advisory meetings take place at least twice a year to review decommissioning activities.

  The panel was formed to focus on the concerns of the community. It is chaired by State Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Catherine R. McCabe. It was created by an administrative order in the last year to evaluate the decommissioning process.

  The Oyster Creek Nuclear Generating Station was permanently shut down in September 2018. Commissioner McCabe made the appointment in collaboration with Congressman Andy Kim (D-3rd). In addition to Commissioner McCabe and Mayor Kennis, members of the Oyster Creek Safety Advisory Panel include the Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police, Director of the Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness, and the President of the Board of Public Utilities, or their respective designees.

  The formation of the panel was a requirement by Holtec International under a January 2018 Administrative Consent Order governing the decommissioning process. Holtec purchased the Oyster Creek Nuclear Generating Station from Exelon Generation Company, LLC in July 2019.

  The DEP provides technical staff to assist the panel as necessary, as well as supplemental information as requested related to decommissioning activities. Currently, Oyster Creek remains in compliance with all requirements and obligations of the 2018 administrative order. Decommissioning is progressing according to the proposed schedule.