WASHINGTON—The following is a statement by the Nuclear Energy Institute’s senior vice president for governmental affairs, Alex Flint, regarding the U.S. Department of Energy’s submission to Congress yesterday of legislation entitled the “Nuclear Fuel Management and Disposal Act.” The legislation is designed “to enhance the management and disposal” of used nuclear fuel from commercial nuclear power plants and high-level radioactive waste from U.S. defense programs at a geologic repository planned for Yucca Mountain, Nev.
“The nuclear energy industry is pleased that the Bush Administration has sent legislation to Congress to facilitate implementation of the federal government’s used nuclear fuel management program. We view this legislation as additional evidence that the administration continues its support for nuclear energy as an essential part of a diverse energy portfolio for our nation.
“This legislation addresses one of the three key foundational pieces of the integrated used fuel management strategy that the industry has embraced to protect the environment in an era of expanded use of nuclear energy. In addition to the planned Yucca Mountain disposal facility that is the focus of this legislation, the industry advocates research and development and demonstration projects to recycle nuclear fuel, along with interim storage of used nuclear fuel until commercial-scale recycling technologies or permanent disposal – or both – are available.
“As Congress considers this legislation, the Department of Energy should continue to take the steps necessary to submit a license application for the repository to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission by June 2008. Timely submittal of the application does not hinge upon legislative action.
“The nuclear energy industry will work with the administration and Congress to ensure that the federal obligation to remove used nuclear fuel from reactor sites is met as soon as possible. For more than 20 years, electricity customers have paid funds through their monthly electricity bills into the federal Nuclear Waste Fund specifically for the development of a geologic repository for used nuclear fuel. This legislation will help the government meet its obligation to the American people while being a good environmental steward.”
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.