Washington, D.C.– The House Science Committee today approved an amendment from Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner, R-Wis., that will reinforce the Obama Administration’s responsibility to store spent nuclear waste at the proposed Yucca Mountain, Nev. nuclear waste repository. The Nuclear Energy Research and Development Act of 2010 (H.R. 5866) will update Department of Energy nuclear energy research programs in order to develop new nuclear energy technology.
Rep. Sensenbrenner, ranking Republican on the House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming, said his amendment was necessary to ensure that the federal government retains its responsibility for storing nuclear waste and added that Congress has directed the Department of Energy to develop the Yucca Mountain site for spent nuclear fuel.
“It is irresponsible for President Obama to walk away from Yucca Mountain when our country badly needs new sources of energy,” Sensenbrenner said. “Congress has devoted more than $10 billion in taxpayer money and 30 years of research in the Yucca Mountain project. It has been found to be safe. Congress wants it developed. There is no reason for the Administration to shutter this project other than politics. America’s energy security shouldn’t be diminished in order to grant a political favor to the Senate Majority Leader.”
The amendment to H.R. 5866 would clarify that the federal government will maintain responsibility for any high-level radioactive waste produced by new reactors that result from the Department of Energy research authorized in the bill. Under the Nuclear Waste Policy Act, the federal government already bears responsibility for this waste. Congress specifically mandates Yucca Mountain as a disposal facility for this waste. Sensenbrenner said his amendment makes no changes to the Nuclear Waste Policy Act, and only reiterates the federal government’s responsibility to store any waste created through new DOE research.
An administrative board of judges at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission said in June that the DOE case for closing Yucca Mountain was “illogical,” “inconsistent,” and “contrary and not persuasive.”
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