Leaders Address Consent-Based Siting of Nuclear Waste

OurEnergyPolicy Roundtable Focuses on Consent-Based Siting


July 20, 2022

WASHINGTON, D.C. — In a forum convened by the non-partisan OurEnergyPolicy (OEP), 14 energy leaders provided feedback to the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Request for Information (RFI) regarding a consent-based program for the siting of a federal, interim nuclear waste repository.

The roundtable discussion among policy, technology, and industry experts examined specific questions posed by the DOE on topics including:

    1. Community participation
    2. Social Equity and Environmental Justice
    3. Tribal, State, and local government involvement
    4. Barriers to successful siting
    5. Connection to a permanent repository

Though participants offered varied views on certain questions, the experts were able to identify and agree upon three key points that must be considered when establishing a consent-based program:

    1. The process must be clear on what entities need to provide consent. (e.g., Communities, Regions, States).
    2. The government is not the ideal body to oversee the process as it lacks expertise in certain areas essential to successful siting, such as conducting public outreach and engagement.
    3. The process must be a part of a path towards a permanent repository.

“Consent-Based Siting for Federal Interim Nuclear Storage”, the whitepaper summarizing the experts’ views, will be distributed to government officials and others involved in the policymaking process, in concert with OEP’s goal of providing resources to enhance American energy policies. The whitepaper is also available on OEP’s website.

“The conversation among these nuclear experts offers important insights into a problem that has gone without an actionable solution for over four decades,” says Bill Squadron, President of OurEnergyPolicy. “Their comments illustrate that meaningful progress is possible on this issue and offer recommendations for how it may be achieved.”

Participating experts:

  • Alan Ahn, Third Way
  • Steven Curtis, Independent
  • Alex Gilbert, Nuclear Innovation Alliance
  • Joe Hezir, Energy Futures Initiative
  • Andrew Kadak, Kadak Associates
  • John Kotek, Nuclear Energy Institute
  • Edwin Lyman, Union of Concerned Scientists
  • Allison Macfarlane, University of British Columbia
  • Andrew Revkin, Columbia Climate School
  • Herschel Specter, Micro-Utilities, Inc
  • Cindy Vestergaard, The Stimson Center


About OurEnergyPolicy: OurEnergyPolicy is a 501(c)(3) nonpartisan organization dedicated to advancing and facilitating substantive, responsible dialogue on energy policy issues and providing this discourse as a resource for the public, policymakers, and the media. OurEnergyPolicy also serves as a one-stop resource hub for all things energy policy and includes the OurEnergyLibrary—an online resource library aggregating thousands of U.S. energy policy-relevant publications from across the sector.