WASHINGTON—The following is a statement by the Nuclear Energy Institute’s president and chief executive officer, Frank L. “Skip” Bowman, regarding today’s announcement that U.S. Reps. Ed Towns of New York and Fred Upton of Michigan have introduced federal legislation (H.R. 3358) in support of nuclear energy. The announcement came during a visit to the Donald C. Cook nuclear power plant in Rep. Upton’s district by Secretary of Energy Samuel Bodman.
“The nuclear energy industry is pleased that Congressmen Towns and Upton have introduced two-pronged legislation that will support the construction of new nuclear plants and accelerate progress on the government’s nuclear waste management program.
“The legislation increases assurance that there will be access to funding for the Department of Energy’s used fuel management program by changing the budget treatment for the Nuclear Waste Fund. The fund has a balance of $20 billion and receives $750 million annually from a surcharge on users of nuclear-generated electricity. However, only a fraction of this money is appropriated for its intended purpose to develop a repository for used nuclear fuel at Yucca Mountain, Nevada. This legislation will fix the budgetary flaw that permits this diversion of funds and help the government move forward with development of a federal disposal facility for used nuclear fuel at Yucca Mountain.
“Yucca Mountain is a key element of an integrated used fuel management approach that includes interim storage of used fuel at a government facility while recycling technology is being developed, as well as research and development into advanced fuel processing techniques that will extract the unused energy from fuel rods and reduce the volume, heat and toxicity of the residual waste byproducts.
“The Towns/Upton legislation also reaffirms the nation’s broad policy to develop a geologic disposal facility for the waste byproducts of the nuclear fuel cycle as specifically articulated in the Nuclear Waste Policy Act. This eliminates having to unnecessarily address waste management in regulatory proceedings. This will increase the momentum toward construction of the new nuclear power plants that our nation needs to meet rising electricity demand with a baseload source of electricity that doesn’t emit greenhouse gases or other pollutants into the atmosphere.
“Both provisions enhance our nation’s energy security for generations to come.”
The Nuclear Energy Institute is the nuclear energy industry’s policy organization. This news release and additional information about nuclear energy are available at www.nei.org.