NRC Staff Report Shows Political Motive behind Yucca Closure

May 24, 2010

NRC Staff Report Shows Political Motive behind Yucca Closure

Sensenbrenner: ‘Obama Risking Energy Independence, Wasting Billions as Favor to Harry Reid’

Washington, D.C.– U.S. Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner, R-Wis., ranking Republican on the House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming, said a staff finding from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission showed that the Obama Administration was pushing to close the proposed Yucca Mountain, Nev. nuclear waste repository site for political reasons. 

“The Obama Administration is risking U.S. energy independence and wasting billions of taxpayer dollars as a political favor to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid,” Sensenbrenner said.
A finding by NRC staff recommended that the NRC board refuse to allow the Department of Energy to withdraw its Yucca Mountain license application “with prejudice.” After nearly 30 years of research and $10 billion of taxpayer money, the DOE earlier this year petitioned the NRC to end consideration of Yucca Mountain as a storage facility. In filing the motion “with prejudice,” Sensenbrenner said the DOE was seeking to guarantee that Yucca Mountain could never again be considered as a storage site.
However, the NRC staff found that DOE lacked legal authority to permanently withdraw Yucca Mountain from consideration when there hasn’t been any finding that Yucca Mountain poses any health, safety or environmental risk, Sensenbrenner said.
“DOE recently established a blue ribbon commission to study long term storage of nuclear waste.  If there hasn’t been a finding on whether Yucca Mountain poses a risk, why would the administration attempt to prevent the commission from considering the site where we’ve already invested the most time and money?” Sensenbrenner asked.  “The Administration should stop playing politics with our energy security and let the commission consider all available options.” 
“A lot of taxpayer money will be wasted if this site is shut down. That shouldn’t happen for no reason.”
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