WASHINGTON—The following is a statement by the Nuclear Energy Institute’s president and chief executive officer, Joe F. Colvin, in response to the U.S. Department of Energy’s release of the scientific and engineering report on a proposed used nuclear fuel repository at Yucca Mountain, Nev.
"This report on years of scientific study offers further support of the suitability of Yucca Mountain as a permanent repository for used fuel from the nation’s commercial nuclear power plants and high-level radioactive waste from the nation’s defense programs. The report clearly demonstrates there is ample scientific basis for making a decision to dispose of used nuclear fuel at Yucca Mountain.
"The science strongly suggests that the site is suitable. Now the project should complete the work leading up to a secretarial recommendation to the President. If the President approves the site, it will move ahead to further review as part of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission licensing process. We expect the decision process, based on scientific facts, to move forward in an expeditious manner.
"Scientific organizations worldwide have examined the issue of used nuclear fuel disposal, and virtually all support the same conclusion: management of fuel is safest when centralized and disposed of in an underground repository. For more than 15 years, world-class scientific and engineering studies of Yucca Mountain have explored all possible contingencies ranging from earthquakes, water leakage and the geology of the mountain itself. These analyses have determined that there is scientific certainty that used nuclear fuel can be managed safely at Yucca Mountain.
"As the nation’s leading emission-free source of electricity, nuclear energy plays a vital role in the nation’s economic and environmental well-being. Just as importantly, it promotes the nation’s energy security. The industry is encouraged by the public statements from policymakers in support of nuclear-generated electricity as a key component of the nation’s energy portfolio, and for the need to move forward with a national repository. The results of this report provide a sound scientific basis allowing Energy Secretary Abraham’s Yucca Mountain site recommendation decision to President Bush by the end of this year."
The Nuclear Energy Institute is the nuclear energy industry’s policy organization. This news release and additional information about nuclear energy are available on NEI’s Internet site at http://www.nei.org .