WASHINGTON—The following is a statement by John Kane, vice president at the Nuclear Energy Institute, on the state of Nevada’s decision Feb. 2 to reject water use permit requests by the U.S. Department of Energy for a proposed used nuclear fuel disposal facility at Yucca Mountain, Nev.
The state’s decision to deny water permits for the Yucca Mountain project is clear evidence that Nevada is continuing to thwart, by all possible means, this important national program to safely manage nuclear byproducts from the nation’s energy and defense activities. Nevada’s long record of obstructionism underscores the need for federal legislation to provide specific guidance to continue scientific and engineering studies to determine if Yucca Mountain is suitable and, if so, to ensure the project remains on schedule. The industry urges the Senate to pass the Nuclear Waste Policy Amendments Act (S. 1287) to ensure progress toward opening a repository.
"The state engineer has determined that there is sufficient water to meet the agency’s request, which is one-fifth of the water used for a typical gold or silver mining facility in the state. DOE will use the water for road construction, environmental protection projects, drilling, repository construction, and drinking and washing for work crews.
"The state, citing a Nevada law prohibiting nuclear fuel storage or disposal, ruled that the application is not in the ‘public interest.’ However, Congress in 1987 determined that centralizing nuclear material for disposal at one location, where it is easier to monitor and regulate, is in the public interest and instructed DOE to study the Yucca Mountain site. To turn off the spigot as these studies are coming to fruition is irresponsible for the public interest and environment of this nation."
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.