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be released from any mill tailings related liability or claim thereof upon such payment.".

SEC. 3. Section 204 of Public Law 92–314 is amended by striking the figure "$5,000,000" and substituting therefor the figure “$8,000,000".

Passed the Senate April 4 (legislative day, February 21), 1977.

J. S. KIMMITT, Secretary.


Washington, D.C., May 20, 1977. Hon. HARLEY 0. STAGGERS, Chairman, Committee on Interstate and Foreign Commerce, U.S. House of Representatives, Washington, D.C.

DEAR MR. CHAIRMAN : This is in response to your request for comments on H.R. 5186, a bill "[t]o amend Public Law 92–314 to authorize appropriations to the Energy Research and Development Administration for financial assistance to limit radiation exposure from uranium mill tailings used for construction, and for other purposes.”

The Energy Research and Development Administration strongly supports enactment of the bill subject to correction of a typographical error on line five of the first page of the bill. The figure representing “Operating expenses” stated in section 101 of Public Law 92–314 should be “$2,110,480,000" instead of “$12,110,480,000." With that correction, H.R. 5186 would be identical to S. 266 in connection with which ERDA expressed its comments to you on May 2, 1977. A copy of that comment letter is attached. Sincerely,


Acting General Counsel. Enclosure:


Washington, D.C., May 20, 1977. Hon. HARLEY O. STAGGERS, Chairman, Committee on Interstate and Foreign Commerce, House of Representatives.

DEAR MR. CHAIRMAN: This is in response to your request for comments on S. 266, a bill "[t]o amend Public Law 92–314 to authorize appropriations to the Energy Research and Development Administration for financial assistance to limit radiation exposure from uranium mill tailings used for construction, and for other purposes."

ERDA strongly supports enactment of the bill.

The bill is identical to portions of the Conference Report to H.R. 13350, the ERDA authorization bill for fiscal year 1977, which was considered in the Senate and the House of Representatives in the second session of the 94th Congress. The Conference Report was passed by the House but failed to be acted on in the Senate last session.

Under P.L. 92–314, Congress authorized a program to provide financial assistance to property owners using material containing uranium mill tailings for the construction of buildings in the Grand Junction, Colorado, area. The material posed a potential health hazard caused by emanation of radiation. The program permitted remedial action to be taken to limit radiation exposure. Those who filed applications prior to June 16, 1976, and who qualified under ERDA regulations were eligible for the remedial program. ERDA was authorized to provide 75 percent of the cost of the remedial program with the State of Colorado providing the remainder. Five million dollars was authorized to be appropriated and appropriations of that amount have been made. The bill would amend Public Law 92-314 by extending the application date by three years and by authorizing an additional three million dollars. The bill would also amend Public Law 92–314 by permitting reimbursement to property owners who corrected the problem by self-help.

Remedial work authorized by Public Law 92-314 has been accomplished on about 250 structures. However, it is estimated that remedial work is still needed on approximately 350 structures. These include private residences, schools,

churches and other structures. The eventual number of structures qualifying for remedial action is expected to total about 600.

We view the completion of the programs authorized by Public Law 92-314 to be very important to assure minimization of citizen exposure to radiation and equitable treatment of the property owners affected. We urge enactment of the bill.

The Office of Management and Budget has advised that there is no objection to the presentation of this report from the standpoint of the Administration's program. Sincerely,

Hudson B. RAGAN,

Acting General Counsel. Mr. DINGELL. The Chair is particularly pleased to have with us the Honorable Marcus A. Rowden, Chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and a number of his associates.

Gentlemen, we are pleased to have you with us. If you will identify
yourselves for the purpose of the record, starting on your left, my
right, we will recognize you for such statements as you choose to give
this morning.

Mr. RowDEN. Marcus A. Rowden, Chairman of the Commission.

Mr. STRAUSS. Peter Strauss, General Counsel to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

Mr. GOSSICK. Lee Gossick, Executive Director.
Mr. BARRY. Learned Barry, the Controller.
Mr. DINGELL. Gentlemen, you are welcome.

Mr. Rowden, we will recognize you now for your statement. We do thank you for being here and for your courtesy and your assistance to the committee.

Mr. ROWDEN. Mr. Chairman and members of the committee:

We appreciate the opportunity to appear, for the first time, before the Committee on Interstate and Foreign Commerce to present the fiscal year 1978 authorization bill, H.R. 3455, for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. We look forward to a continuing and constructive relationship with this committee.

Accompanying me today are Lee Gossick, our Executive Director for Operations, and senior members of the NRC staff.

I am submitting for the record a detailed statement responding to the several questions the committee has asked us to address. As the committee knows, we have already provided testimony on this authorization legislation before the House Interior and Insular Affairs Committee and the transcript of the testimony there has been submitted to this committee for its information.

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Mr. DINGELL. Without objection your full statement will appear in the record as will the other statements referred to.

We will recognize you now for such comments as you desire to make. Mr. ROWDEN. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

In my remarks today I would like to give a brief overview of our relatively new agency, what we have accomplished, and the major issues which we face. I will also stress the implications for the nuclear regulatory program that result from the Presidential policy announcements made this month and the developing energy initiatives of the Carter administration. At the conclusion of my statement, I and the senior officers of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission will be available to respond to your questions.


The responsibilities placed on the NRC by statute provide the framework for assuring that nuclear activities are conducted in a manner consistent with (1) public health and safety, (2) national security, (3) environmental quality, and (4) the Nation's antitrust laws.

Without in any way downgrading other responsibilities, the health and safety aspects of our mission have been the primary focus of nuclear regulation. The Commission has recently defined its mission in a statement to NRC employees which I think bears repeating here:

The mission of the NRC is to protect the public in the uses of nuclear facilities and materials. That is the reason for our existence the reason NRC was established as a separate and independent nuclear regulatory agency * * * That mission is the guiding force in establishing policies, conducting searching reviews of proposed and actual operations of nuclear facilities and issuing or denying licenses.


To accomplish its mission, NRC maintains broad programs for standards setting, technical review and licensing of nuclear materials and facilities, inspection and enforcement, safeguards, and regulatory research.

Although a major portion of NRC efforts is dedicated to the regulation of nuclear power reactors, our responsibilities cover a much wider spectrum and include regulating most of the activities associated with the nuclear fuel cycle and the performance of confirmatory safety research. In the reactor area, the Commission licenses both the construction and the operation of nuclear power facilities. It also licenses individual reactor operators responsible for their control. Facilities which fabricate fuel, which store fabricated or spent fuel, which reprocess used fuel, and which manage or dispose of nuclear waste are also licensed by the NRC.

In connection with its international responsibilities, the Commission licenses the export and import of source, special, or byproduct nuclcar materials as well as nuclear facilities. The Commission also licenses the possession and use of source, special, and byproduct materials over a wide range of activities, including radiological medicine and industrial use. When these activites--some including waste disposal activities-involve amounts of materials which are smaller than

necessary to form a critical mass, licensing authority may be transferred to qualified States under the agreement State program,

Since its inception in 1975, the NRC has actively sought to communicate with and involve the public in its regulatory activities. We do this to secure a wide range of viewpoints for our consideration, and to accord the public an appropriate opportunity to participate in regulatory policy formulation and decisionmaking.

As earlier indicated, a major portion of NRC efforts is focused on the regulation of nuclear powerplants. This process now begins with the receipt of an application for a construction permit. Filing of an application marks the beginning of an intensive staff review of both environmental and radiological health and safety factors, as well as relevant safeguards matters, leading to a mandatory hearing on the issuance of a construction permit. That is a hearing which takes place, whether it is requested by a member of the public or not.

Authority for limited construction-essentially in the nature of site preparation-may be granted before a construction permit is issued, but only after environmental impact and site suitability reviews have been completed and a licensing board has made favorable findings following a public hearing. Preceding issuance of the construction permit, the license application is reviewed for antitrust implications, including review by and advice from the Attorney General. Any necessary hearing on antitrust matters is also held durng this period. When construction is nearing completion, the applicant will apply for an operating license, which is also the subject of thorough safety and environmental review. A hearing on the application is held if any affected person seeks it, prior to decision on an operating license.

During the interval between granting a construction permit and an operating license, our inspection and enforcement staff assure that the plant is built and equipped in accordance with the safety and environmental specifications and conditions set forth in the construction permit. Of course that inspection continues throughout the operating life of the facility.

We are intent on making our licensing process as effective and efficient as possible and have taken a number of significant steps toward that end. Consistency and predictability in regulatory review and decisionmaking are fundamental to sound energy planning and serve industry and the public alike. In the interest of greater consistency and also to enhance the reliability of staff reviews, we have drawn up standard review plans which apprise all parties of what the NRC staff will require in making its safety and environmental reviews; what criteria will be employed in reaching staff judgments; and what methods for meeting requirements are acceptable.

Another program on which substantial progress is being made is the standardization of the designs of nuclear powerplants. This approach, as the comunittee knows, received strong and affirmative emphasis in the President's energy message of April 20. Design standardization holds great promise for enhancing safety, and saving time and costs, and making public participation more effective. Standardization will have an even greater impact in all of these respects when combined with early reviews and decisions on proposed nuclear plant sites—an approach we are also implementing to the extent present law allows.

The Commission has, this week, approved for issuance effective regulations providing for early review of and decisionmaking on nuclear powerplant sites and we will continue our efforts to implement that concept, including possible legislative changes in the licensing process.

Since its inception, the NRC has striven to improve the process for siting nuclear powerplants, while assuring the necessary protection for public health and safety. Its emphasis has been on having sound site determinations made early in the regulatory process, and on minimizing duplicative procedures by NRC and other agencies having a role in siting decisions. Active cooperation with the States and other Federal agencies is a key element of our policy.

In furtherance of this objective, the Commission has undertaken a study, scheduled for completion this spring, of how to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of Federal and State decision making in the siting of nuclear facilities. The study involves other Federal agencies, the States, and a variety of private groups. It is expected to produce recommendations for changes in procedures and, possibly, for new legislation regarding the relative roles of Federal and State authorities in the overall process of nuclear powerplant authorizations.

The Energy Reorganization Act which created NRC gave it specific licensing authority over the long-term waste disposal facilities which would be developed and operated by the Energy Research and Development Administration (ERDA). NRC has coordinated its activities with those of ERDA to assure that as ERDA's developmental effort progresses, NRC's regulatory program will be ready to meet its responsibilities.

Our program is being designed to be able to render a licensing decision on an ERDA high-level waste repository in time for the repository to be ready for operation by 1985, ERDA, current target date. We have also intensified our effort to assure adequate regulation of the management of other forms of radioactive waste, including uranium mill tailings and low-level waste.

The recent Presidential decisions regarding spent fuel reprocessing will have an inevitable impact on the waste management program. Instead of planning for the high-level waste stream which would be the product of a reprocessing phase in the fuel cycle, we must now plan for long-term storage, retrievable or permanent, of spent reactor fuel, and provide as well for additional interim storage capacity for this fuel. The change in approach, however, reflects no change in priority. Timely implementation of a sound waste management program remains of central importance and we are seeking the levels of support needed to realize that objective.

The Congress, in the Energy Reorganization Act, explicitly required that the NRC address nuclear safeguards as a major regulatory task and establishment a statutory office to give this matter organizational focus.

During the past 2 years we have built and staffed a safeguards organization, laid the foundation for near-term and longer-range safeguards policies and begun the process of their progressive implementation. The Commission has significantly upgraded the physical security safeguards as existing fuel cycle facilities, and will presently

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