WASHINGTON—U.S. Senate and House of Representatives conferees today approved an Energy and Water Development appropriations bill for fiscal year 2004. The spending measure includes funding for the federal government’s nuclear waste management program, which will receive $580 million in the current fiscal year. The following is a statement from John Kane, NEI senior vice president of governmental affairs.
“The nuclear energy industry is pleased that appropriations conferees, acting in bipartisan fashion, have nearly met the Administration’s $591 million budget request for the nuclear waste management program. The $580 million approved by conferees will go a long way toward helping the Department of Energy meet its goal of submitting a license application in December 2004 for the planned Yucca Mountain repository.
“At the same time, the industry is disappointed that conferees did not accede to the $765 million appropriation for Yucca Mountain approved by the House of Representatives last July. This amount would have funded important parts of the program that have been underfunded in past years and allowed DOE to catch up to schedule. The government’s nuclear waste management program is an environmental priority, and it is imperative that Congress provide the funding necessary for the Department of Energy to meet critical program milestones.
“The FY04 funding rightly supports Congress’s decision last year approving Yucca Mountain as a permanent underground disposal facility for used nuclear fuel from commercial nuclear power plants and high-level radioactive waste from U.S. defense programs. Members of Congress clearly are putting the national interest first, and our environment and national security will be better for it.”
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.