Frequently Asked Questions
Please click on one of the Frequently Asked Questions below for an answer.
- What is the purpose of the BRC?
- How were the Commissioners selected, and how is the BRC run?
- Do the members get paid to be on this commission?
- What is the Federal Advisory Committee Act, and where can I learn more about it?
- How is the BRC accomplishing its work?
- What is the next step after the final report has been submitted to the Secretary of Energy?
- Will the BRC make any recommendations about building new nuclear power plants or shutting down the ones already in operation?
- How is the BRC’s work related to the Yucca Mountain project in Nevada?
- Is the BRC making recommendations about where to site waste facilities?
- How can I provide input to the Commission?
- Is there a time line for the release of commission reports?
- What is the length of time for comment following the draft report release?
As directed by President Obama’s Memorandum for the Secretary of Energy dated January 29, 2010: Blue Ribbon Commission on America’s Nuclear Future, the BRC was established to conduct a comprehensive review of policies for managing the back end of the nuclear fuel cycle, including all alternatives for the storage, processing, and disposal of civilian and defense used nuclear fuel, high-level waste, and materials derived from nuclear activities.
The Commissioners were appointed by the Secretary of Energy, and include experts from research facilities, academic and policy-centered institutions, industry, labor organizations, and environmental organizations. The BRC reports to the Secretary, and is chaired by former Congressman Lee Hamilton and General (Ret.) Brent Scowcroft. The Commission is chartered under the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA) and is subject to that statute’s requirements.
No. The Commissioners are not paid.
The Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA) was enacted in 1972 to ensure that advice by the various advisory committees formed over the years is objective and accessible to the public. The Act formalized a process for establishing, operating, overseeing, and terminating these advisory bodies and created the Committee Management Secretariat to monitor compliance with the Act. For additional information on FACA, please see the U.S. General Services Administration’s FACA page at http://www.gsa.gov/portal/category/21242
The Commission has held and is continuing to hold public hearings in Washington, DC, and across the country, to hear from technical and policy experts, elected officials, community leaders, environmental organizations and other interested parties. The BRC has established three subcommittees to specifically focus on reactor and fuel cycle technologies, storage and transportation, and disposal. These subcommittees have also held public meetings and will be reporting back to the full Commission any recommendations for consideration.
The BRC was established as an advisory committee to the Secretary of Energy. After the final report is submitted, it will be up to the Secretary to decide how to utilize the recommendations given in the report.
Q:Will the BRC make any recommendations about building new nuclear power plants or shutting down the ones already in operation?
The Commission was not asked to make recommendations regarding the advisability or appropriate level of future U.S. reliance on nuclear power. It will of course consider a wide range of possible scenarios for the future of nuclear energy in the United States to ensure that its recommendations can accommodate a full range of possibilities.
The Yucca Mountain project is currently the subject of ongoing litigation, and the BRC is not a party to any of those proceedings.
No. The BRC is not a siting commission, and will be making no recommendations about locating specific facilities at any specific sites.
Meetings of the BRC are open to the public, and are being Webcast. All public meetings include a public comment session where interested parties can sign up and make a brief statement. The Commission welcomes written comments, which can be sent via email at BRC@nuclear.energy.gov, or by mail to Blue Ribbon Commission on America’s Nuclear Future, c/o U.S. Department of Energy, 1000 Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, DC 20585. All comments and materials submitted to the BRC will be made available on the website.
The BRC charter requires a draft report to be submitted to the Secretary of Energy by July 29, 2011. The final report is to be delivered by January 29, 2012.
Comments on the draft report will be accepted through November 1, 2011, to ensure that the Commission has adequate time to consider the comments while preparing its final report.