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Nuclear Energy Institute
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NEI Welcomes Introduction of Uranium Fuel Recycling Bill for Integrated Management Effort

WASHINGTON—The following is a statement by the Nuclear Energy Institute’s president and chief executive officer, Frank L. (Skip) Bowman, regarding the Strengthening Management of Advanced Recycling Technologies (SMART) Act of 2008, introduced today in the U.S. Senate. The legislation promotes the establishment of privately owned and operated storage and recycling facilities for used nuclear fuel.

“The nuclear energy industry welcomes the introduction of this pragmatic – and needed – legislation and applauds its chief sponsors – Senators Pete Domenici, Mary Landrieu, Lisa Murkowski and Jeff Sessions.

“The resurgence of interest in nuclear energy as a source of reliable, affordable electricity to meet rising electricity demand and clean-air goals necessitates a fresh look at used fuel management policies to ensure that they are aligned with an era of expansion for nuclear energy. This legislation rightly recognizes the potential value of a closed fuel cycle to recycle fuel for use in existing and planned nuclear power plants. It also requires advanced fuel reprocessing techniques that do not separate pure plutonium – an obviously important way to improve the proliferation resistance of a closed fuel cycle.

“This legislation enhances an integrated used fuel management strategy by establishing an economic incentive program for communities that wish to voluntarily host a privately owned and operated temporary storage facility for used nuclear fuel. Interim storage sites will enable the Department of Energy to meet its obligation to move used fuel from operating plants before the disposal facility planned for Yucca Mountain, Nevada, is operational. This approach also provides the flexibility that the industry believes is warranted to accommodate advances in technology, including advanced recycling technologies.

“Interim storage and pursuit of advanced fuel reprocessing technologies are two key elements of an integrated used fuel management strategy. Swift enactment of this legislation, coupled with completion of the licensing process for the Yucca Mountain repository for used fuel and the final waste products that reprocessing cannot remove, will greatly enhance our nation’s stature as a true environmental steward.”