WASHINGTON—The following is a statement by the Nuclear Energy Institute's president and chief executive officer, Joe F. Colvin, in response to the U.S. Department of Energy's release of a viability assessment of Yucca Mountain, Nev.
"A major milestone in the scientific study of Yucca Mountain has been reached, and 'no showstoppers' continues to be an accurate summation of the findings to date. The years of research represented by the viability assessment and the continued thrust of the science at Yucca Mountain together offer assurance that the federal government can develop a permanent repository under the current schedule. With the science continuing to show Yucca Mountain viable, the nuclear energy industry now looks to the 106th Congress and the Clinton Administration to provide the bipartisan leadership needed to provide a national solution to meeting the federal obligation to manage used nuclear fuel.
"The viability assessment marks some 15 years of in-depth scientific investigation on every facet of Yucca Mountain, from hydrology to geology to seismology. While the scientific study will not and should not end at this point, the pursuit of reasonable scientific certainty about the performance of Yucca Mountain is greatly advanced by this development. At the same time, confidence in the ability of our nation's brightest technical minds to engineer a repository that safely isolates used nuclear fuel, based on our scientific understanding of the site, is increased.
"The Clinton Administration has long asked Congress to wait until the viability assessment was complete before acting on legislation revamping the government's nuclear waste management program. The viability assessment is now out. It's positive. Congress now needs to enact the comprehensive legislation that was supported by overwhelming majorities in both houses of the 105th Congress."
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.