WASHINGTON—The U.S. Senate today passed by a vote of 60-39 S.J. Res. 34, a resolution approving Yucca Mountain, Nev., as the site for a federal repository for used nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive nuclear waste from U.S. defense programs. Following is a statement by Joe F. Colvin, the Nuclear Energy Institute’s president and chief executive officer.
“This is a great day for U.S. energy security and common-sense environmentalism. A bipartisan group of U.S. Senators from all regions of the country had the courage of their convictions to choose good public policy in the face of intense political pressure.
“The Senate’s approval of the Yucca Mountain resolution is a clear signal of continued congressional support for nuclear energy and the reliable, clean electricity it supplies to one of every five American homes and businesses. Consolidating used nuclear fuel from nuclear power plants and high-level radioactive waste from U.S. defense programs is good for U.S. energy security, national security and our environment. It is also vitally important that our government keep faith with the millions of electricity consumers who since 1983 have committed $18 billion to finance the government’s nuclear waste disposal program.
“Twenty years of unprecedented scientific evaluation of every geologic and environmental aspect have clearly determined Yucca Mountain’s suitability as a repository for used nuclear fuel. It’s important that the government continue to move forward on the Yucca Mountain project as long as science deems it prudent to do so. Today’s vote rightly allows the Yucca Mountain evaluation process to proceed to the licensing phase.
“The industry fully realizes that safe transportation of used nuclear fuel and defense waste is critical to the success of the Yucca Mountain program. It is dedicated to maintaining its stellar record of the past 38 years that has witnessed more than 3,000 shipments without a single incidence of a release of radiation.
“The industry appreciates the leadership that President Bush, Energy Secretary Abraham, Senators Bingaman, Murkowski and Craig, Speaker Hastert, Congressmen Tauzin, Dingell, Barton, Boucher and many other members of Congress on both sides of the aisle have provided to advance this program. They are all to be commended for their vigorous efforts to protect the environment and strengthen our nation’s energy security.”
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.