WASHINGTON, D.C., July 29, 2011—The Blue Ribbon Commission on America’s Nuclear Future today released its draft report of recommendations on future management of used nuclear fuel and nuclear waste. Following is a statement by the Nuclear Energy Institute’s senior vice president for governmental affairs, Alex Flint.
“It is important that Americans have access to cost-efficient, U.S.-based energy resources like nuclear energy. The proper stewardship of our environment demands that we effectively manage the byproducts associated with the use of these resources. The Blue Ribbon Commission has rightly recognized that the national nuclear waste management system must be truly integrated and that the United States should remain at the forefront of technology developments and international efforts to responsibly manage nuclear materials.
“A number of recommendations in the report strike the nuclear energy industry as sensible, desirable and, given time, achievable. The industry is particularly gratified to see the recommendations calling for the establishment of one or more consolidated interim storage facilities for used nuclear fuel; development of a permanent underground repository for commercial used fuel and high-level radioactive waste from U.S. defense programs; creation of a new management organization that will assume the U.S. Department of Energy’s role in managing this material; and legislation providing full access to nuclear waste fee revenues and the federal Nuclear Waste Fund. These should be among the nation’s top energy policy priorities.
“The industry concurs with the Blue Ribbon Commission’s assertion that the availability of consolidated interim storage will provide ‘valuable flexibility’ in the nuclear waste management system. While repository site selection is not within the scope of the BRC’s work, the nuclear energy industry continues to believe that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s review of the Department of Energy’s license application for the proposed Yucca Mountain, Nevada, repository should continue.
“The nuclear energy industry also sees merit in the commission’s call for sustained public- and private-sector support for research and development of advanced reactor and fuel cycle technologies that can help address the energy challenges facing future generations.“The nuclear energy industry stands ready to work with the administration and Congress in shaping policies that will help implement these recommendations to advance the nation’s economic, energy and environmental, as well as its national security imperatives.”