Bill aims to give more local say in potential nuclear waste disposal

Mar 17, 2017

Rep. Jon Nelson (R-Rugby).
Credit ND Legislature

The House Energy and Natural Resources Committee is looking at a bill that would require approval from a county commission and a regional water resource board before any disposal site for out of state nuclear waste is located in a North Dakota county.

The bill is in reaction to a Department of Energy experiment scheduled for Pierce County. DOE was going to do a test “deep hole” for storing nuclear waste. But Pierce County residents say they never knew about that proposal until an article appeared in the Pierce County Tribune. And they’re not happy that they weren’t told about it.

"Whether or not you agree with out of state radioactive storage in North Dakota, you don't start the conversation very well if the local jurisdictions are the last to knwo," Rep. Jon Nelson (R-Rugby) told the Committee. "It's better that you set the table before you start playing."

Charles Volk farms about three miles from that proposed test site.

"if this project was considered to be so safe, and provide such important scientific discoveries, then why wasn't more done to educate the public?" Volk said.

The Senate has already passed the bill. The House committee has not taken action.