Legislature, state agencies to study nuclear waste regulations

Jun 6, 2017

An interim Legislative committee will be studying whether state and local level regulation of radioactive waste is consistent with federal regulations.

The study will look at ensuring the state has proper input into the federal selection of nuclear waste depositories – and how the legislature can be called into special session to deal with the issue.

This comes from concerns in Wells County about a “test hole” to be drilled in the county. Residents there complained they were not told about the test.

The state Health Department and the Department of Mineral Resources will also be involved in the study.

"At the end of the day, we want the state of North Dakota to be able to decide whether or not they want this," said state geologist Ed Murphy. "We also want to make sure that the feds have to recognize the process that the state used., so they can't come back and say, 'Well, you said you don't want it, and you listed these reasons, but your process wasn't correct.'"

Murphy said the study will also include clearly spelling out the criteria for rejecting nuclear waste. The bill containing the study provides that local zoning authorities must also give their approval for any disposal facility.