Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Cleaning Up America's Nuclear Weapons Complex

This Report by National Governor's Association sets forth the progress states have made in partnership with the federal government treating, cleaning and disposing of waste throughout America's nuclear weapons complex. The report also details recommendations to help improve this partnership.

States became partners in the nuclear weapons cleanup process in 1992 when Congress passed the Federal Facility Compliance Act, which provided states an active role working with the U.S. Department of Energy (U.S. DOE) to determine appropriate treatment and disposal of America's nuclear weapons. To formalize this new working relationship, NGA formed the Federal Facilities Task Force, which is comprised of governor appointed representatives from 13 affected states.

A number of unresolved challenges remain between states and the U.S. DOE, including:

Funding – securing federal funding to meet agreed-upon, enforceable cleanup milestones;
Cleanup – getting sites to meet both federal and state cleanup standards;
Disposal and Transport – ensuring a safe transport and disposal system for radioactive waste; and
Land Use – assessing and compensating states for damages to natural resources.
In early November 2008, a number of national groups representing state, local, and tribal governments met with U.S. DOE as part of the seventh annual meeting to discuss cleanup and management of federal facilities. The groups – including the NGA Center's Federal Facilities Task Force – acknowledged their common interest in cleaning up federal facilities across the country and affirmed their commitment to working collaboratively to ensure effective and efficient cleanup efforts. The groups pledged to build on previous combined meetings and on the cooperative programs each group has developed independently.

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