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                         SENATE BILL 5372



State of Washington      55th Legislature     1997 Regular Session


By Senators Finkbeiner, Brown, Hochstatter, Strannigan and Rossi; by request of Utilities & Transportation Commission


Read first time 01/24/97.  Referred to Committee on Energy & Utilities.


Limiting the number of times the maximum disposal fee at a radioactive waste disposal site may be adjusted.

    AN ACT Relating to low-level radioactive waste disposal sites; and amending RCW 81.108.050.




    Sec. 1.  RCW 81.108.050 and 1991 c 272 s 6 are each amended to read as follows:

    (1) The maximum disposal rates that a site operator may charge generators shall be determined in accordance with this section.  The rates shall include all charges for disposal services at the site.

    (2) Initially, the maximum disposal rates shall be the initial rates established pursuant to RCW 81.108.040.

    (3) Subsequently, the maximum disposal rates shall be adjusted ((semiannually)) in January ((and July)) of each year to incorporate inflation and volume adjustments.  Such adjustments shall take effect thirty days after filing with the commission unless the commission authorizes that the adjustments take effect earlier, or the commission contests the calculation of the adjustments, in which case the commission may suspend the filing.  A site operator shall provide notice to its customers concurrent with the filing.

    (4)(a) Subsequently, a site operator may also file for revisions to the maximum disposal rates due to:

    (i) Changes in any governmentally imposed fee, surcharge, or tax assessed on a volume or a gross revenue basis against or collected by the site operator, including site closure fees, perpetual care and maintenance fees, business and occupation taxes, site surveillance fees, leasehold excise taxes, commission regulatory fees, municipal taxes, and a tax or payment in lieu of taxes authorized by the state to compensate the county in which a site is located for that county's legitimate costs arising out of the presence of that site within that county; or

    (ii) Factors outside the control of the site operator such as a material change in regulatory requirements regarding the physical operation of the site.

    (b) Revisions to the maximum disposal rate shall take effect thirty days after filing with the commission unless the commission suspends the filing or authorizes the proposed adjustments to take effect earlier.

    (5) Upon establishment of a contract rate pursuant to RCW 81.108.060 for a disposal fee, the site operator may not collect a disposal fee that is greater than the effective rate.  The effective rate shall be in effect so long as such contract rate remains in effect.  Adjustments to the maximum disposal rates may be made during the time an effective rate is in place.  Contracts for disposal of extraordinary volumes pursuant to RCW 81.108.070 shall not be considered in determining the effective rate.

    (6) The site operator may petition the commission for new maximum disposal rates at any time.  Upon receipt of such a petition, the commission shall set the matter for hearing and shall issue an order within seven months of the filing of the petition.  The petition shall be accompanied by the documents required to accompany the filing for initial rates.  The hearing on the petition shall be conducted in accordance with the commission's rules of practice and procedure.

    (7) This section shall only take effect following a finding that the site operator is a monopoly pursuant to RCW 81.108.100.


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