History of Federal Legislation for handling of Low Level Radioactive Waste

1980 - In response to perceived crisis in the disposal of vast volumes of LLRW, Congress passed the Low Level Radioactive Waste Policy Act in 1980. This act declared that states must take responsibility for the disposal of their own low-level radioactive waste generated within their borders. States had the opportunity to join with other states for form compacts and construct regional sites for disposal of their waste.

1983 - Central Interstate Compact formed

1985 - "The Low-Level Radioactive Waste Policy Amendments Act of 1985 made the states responsible for low-level radioactive waste disposal. It encouraged the states to enter into compacts that would allow several states to dispose of waste at a joint disposal facility. Most states have entered into compacts. However, to date no new disposal facilities have been built."

Initially, the Central Interstate Compact consisted of 9 states (Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, and Oklahoma), with any state given the option of withdrawing. Eventually, the five states listed above constituted the Central Interstate Compact. In this amendment, it is prohibited to import LLRW from any state or country outside of the Compact states.

In regards to the development and operation of regional facilities, if no state volunteers or if a suitable site cannot be located in a volunteer state, the Commission can publicly seek companies to develop and operate such a regional facility. It also lays out the requirements for an application to be accepted by the Commission. These include: 1) the capability of the applicant to obtain a license from the state siting the facility; 2) financial assurances; 3) accessibility to all members of the Compact; 4) other criteria (my emphasis) "as shall be determined by the Commission to be necessary for the selection of the best proposal, based on the health, safety and welfare of the citizens in the region and the party states". Also, the Commission may revoke the membership of any state that shall be found to have "arbitrarily or capriciously denied or delayed the issuance of a license or permit".