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The evidence now suggests that the Department of Energy may have mishandled a cooperative agreement that attempted to implement this statute, and, in the process, may have ignored the intent of Congress. The evidence also indicates that the Department of Energy continues to have problems in organizing to deal with major programs in a way that insures that the laws will be "faithfully executed." We will want to explore both the cooperative agreement as well as the DOE plans for executing that agreement. I want to emphasize that this inquiry has been undertaken with the full support of the Science and Technology Committee and with the intent to insure that Public Law 96-368 is, in fact, carried out. Many people undoubtedly have hidden agendas in the area of nuclear waste. Some would like to see the project delayed; others would like to see it moved forward at a pace that insures continuing problems like those that occurred in the first cooperative agreement.

Our job, as an oversight subcommittee, is to insure that the law is carried out in such a way to insure that it meets its goals in the most efficient and effective possible fashion. The subcommittee looks forward to working with the Department of Energy, and the relevant committees of the Congress, to forge an agreement that better represents the public interest.

I want to make one final thing clear before we begin. While the subcommittee will undoubtedly be asking the witnesses hard questions about the validity of their judgments, and their prudence in striking the November 3, 1980, cooperative agreement, no evidence exists that the Carter White House placed any undue pressure upon the Department of Energy to sign an agreement with New York State that was improper.

The evidence also does not indicate that the State of New York did anything other than sign the best deal it thought it could get. What now needs to be done is to dissect the agreement, identify those places that need work, and get on with the job of implementing the legislation.

I would like to call now on the ranking minority member, Mr. Walker.

Mr. WALKER. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Mr. Chairman, today we are undertaking one of the most important tasks that the Constitution establishes for government. This is a classic example of the constitutional checks and balances system at work.

I am personally committed to seeing that the West Valley demonstration project is successfully carried out. And I am in true sympathy with the people of New York, since I, and my constituents, live in the shadow of Three Mile Island. The problems are indeed similar.

We have a severe problem that affects the lives of everyone in the area, and yet many seem to see either West Valley or Three Mile Island as local or State problems. They are not. They are problems that must be solved, and the results will be used nationwide in the future.

My concern today is to see that the law has been complied with. But far more importantly, my concern is to see that this project goes forward. We cannot, and must not, lose sight of the fact that

Public Law 96-368 must be carried out. Nuclear waste is a problem that our Nation must face, and must face now. For too many years we have allowed this problem to be put off into the uncertain future.

All of the technical evidence points to the conclusion that we presently have the capability to safely handle the wastes at West Valley. We must resolve the questions before us today so that this project can move forward.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Mr. GORE. Thank you.

It is a pleasure for me to call on my colleague from Tennessee, who chairs the Energy Research and Production Subcommittee, which is involved with this matter. I recognize Mrs. Bouquard.

Mrs. BOUQUARD. The Subcommittee on Energy Research and Production has been closely involved in passage of the West Valley Demonstration Project Act.

Our intent was to authorize a research development and demonstration program on the process for solidification of the liquid highlevel radioactive wastes at the West Valley site.

It is important to recognize that this committee at no time intended to authorize a remedial action program, although it was recognized as a necessary consequence to the conduct of the project that certain facilities would be decontaminated; so that, in effect, the site would be held harmless from the actions of the Department.

We are here today because the agreement that the Department reached with the State of New York to carry out the intent of the law seems to extend beyond the scope of that intent. Today we hope to clarify those ambiguities of the contract that have reportedly led to contradictory conclusions by the parties involved. Most prominent among these ambiguities is that associated with the scope of the decontamination and decommissioning duties of the Department of Energy.

Mr. Chairman, I won't go into all of the questions about the contract that have surfaced over the months since it was signed. The Department of Energy has adequately summed up many of these concerns in a letter recently sent to the Honorable Tom Bevill, chairman of the Energy and Water Development Appropriations Subcommittee.

Mr. Chairman, I ask unanimous consent that this letter be inserted at this point in the record so that these concerns are appropriately identified.

Mr. GORE. Without objection.

[The letter mentioned follows:]

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I am pleased to respond to your concerns regarding the Cooperative Agreement between the State of New York and the Department of Energy on the high-level radioactive waste management demonstration project at West Valley, New York.

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We have received a number of inquiries from the Congress concerning this Agreement. As a result of review we have concluded that the Agreement has inconsistencies with P.L. 96-368 and some ambiguities which need to be removed to permit the Department to carry out the project in a cost effective manner.

We have developed a plan for removing these inconsistencies and ambiguities. Implementation of this plan will be essential if the project is to move ahead on schedule. We are working with representatives of the State to obtain their agreement so that we can move ahead.

Areas that need attention in the agreement include:


Validation of Need and Value of Facilities and In-Kind Services

The Cooperative Agreement provides for credits towards the State's
share of project costs of "not less than thirty-five million dollars
nor more than sixty million dollars" for making available premises
and facilities at the Center to the project. In addition, the
Agreement provides for a credit to the State of "not less than fifteen
million dollars nor more than twenty-five million dollars" for certain
identified State-supported services.

The Department does not believe it has a supportable basis for these estimates. Further we are not able at this time to define with precision what on-site facilities will be used in the solidification project nor can we validate the need to the project for all of the State services identified for credit. We plan to obtain appraisals of the facilities at the Center which would be of sufficient detail to enable credit to be given the State depending on which facilities are used by the Department. We also plan to review the list of State-provided services to validate their need and to obtain an estimate of their value by accepted government practices.

With State Agreement, these validated estimates would become a
part of the Agreement.

2. Ceiling on State Contributions to the Project


The Agreement provides that if upon project completion the State's
share of project costs be less than ten percent, the balance of

the ten percent will be borne by the Department, subject to Congressional
appropriation. We do not believe that such a ceiling on the State share
of costs is consistent with P.L. 96-368 and will seek State agreement
to remove the Agreement language providing for the ceiling.

Occupancy Date

The Agreement provides that the Department shall assume responsibility.
for the project premises and facilities by October 1, 1981. The Depart-
ment will analyze the benefits of control by that date which would
enable the Department to gain first-hand experience with the facilities
with the objective of defining the project. The costs of Department
Occupancy will be weighed against the potentially large cost saving to
the project resulting from improved project definition; should this
trade-off determine a more cost effective occupancy date, we will
request State agreement to change the occupancy date specified in the

Ambiguous areas that need clarification include:



Department Obligations for Decommissioning of Facilities

The Agreement is ambiguous with respect to the Department's obligations
to decommission facilities accepted by the Department but not actually
used by the project. Certain facilities (e.g., the fuel receiving and
storage facility) may not be used by the project. The Department will
request clarifications with the State that confirm that the Department's
obligations for decommissioning extend only to facilities required to
be decontaminated and decommissioned by the Act. With respect to the
burial areas, these clarifications would confirm that remedial actions
on materials already disposed at the time of Department occupancy are
not part of the project.

Disposal of Solidified High-Level Wastes

Responsibility for costs of disposal of the solidified high-level wastes needs to be clarified. The Department's interpretation is that disposal costs for these wastes are to be borne by the State. We will seek concurrence from the State before proceeding.

3. Project Management Responsibilities

The Agreement provides for consultation and coordination by the State in
the project and specifies that detailed consultation and coordination
plans be developed by October 1, 1981. The Department will ensure that
implementation in this area is consistent with good management practices
and provides appropriate coordination with the State without imposing
undue burdens on the Department's Project Office or its Site Contractor.

We continue to strongly support the West Valley Demonstration Project as being in the national interest by providing a technically sound approach to demonstrating the solidification of high-level waste for disposal. Our planned Fiscal Year 1982 activities are of particular importance in development of a technical, cost, and schedule baseline for the project. We have discussed our concerns with officials of the State and while they feel that the Agreement is consistent with P.L. 96-368, they are agreeable to further discussion on the issues of concern. We will place the highest priority on resolving these questions sa that the project can move forward.

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Mrs. BOUQUARD. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, very much.

Mr. GORE. I would like to call on Mr. Lujan, who is a valued member of this subcommittee and also a ranking member of one of the other committees that deals with this problem.

Mr. Lujan?

Mr. LUJAN. Mr. Chairman, as the member who requested that this hearing be held, I want to thank you for calling us together here today. I have the unique privilege of sitting not only as a member of this subcommittee, but also as the ranking Republican member of the Subcommittee on Energy Research and Production, which is deeply involved in the questions before us today.

I do want to make one point before we go further, and that is that I am completely supportive of the West Valley demonstration project, and I want to see it carried out. I asked for this hearing because I believe that the agreement which currently exists between the U.S. Department of Energy and the State of New York is so out of line with the congressional intent in authorizing this demonstration project that the project, itself, is in clear danger of dying for lack of funding.

It is my hope that the project can be saved through a reasonable process of negotiation. But let me state that, as of the present, it is my understanding that the West Valley demonstration project will not be funded by the Committee on Appropriations with the agreement in the present form. If the project is to be funded, and I do want to see it funded, it will be because the agreement is renegotiated into a form acceptable to the Committee on Appropriations and the Congress.

A number of committees have already expressed concern about this agreement. Chairman Mo Udall, of the Interior Committee, has already joined me in writing Energy Secretary Edwards, to express our concern.

Our friends, Chairman Tom Bevill and Congressman John Myers, of the Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development Appropriations, have also joined in a nonpartisan concern over this

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