WASHINGTON, DC – Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), Ranking Member of the Environment & Public Works Committee, together with Senators John Barrasso (R-WY), Larry Craig (R-ID), Lamar Alexander (R-TN), Kit Bond (R-MO), Mike Crapo (R-ID) and Jim DeMint (R-SC), today introduced the Nuclear Waste Policy Amendments Act of 2008, a bill that reforms the licensing process for authorizing construction, operation, and closure of the Yucca Mountain repository.
Senator Inhofe, Ranking Member of the EPW Committee:
“I believe that a vibrant and growing nuclear energy industry is vital to the energy security of our nation and the health of our economy. I am concerned however, that continuing delays in opening our nation’s repository at Yucca Mountain will hinder the resurgence of nuclear energy in the U.S. The task before us therefore is to develop a repository that protects public health, public safety and the environment by providing a permanent solution for our nation’s nuclear waste. It’s high time that we accomplish this task. We’ve passed laws and resolutions to do it. We’ve collected over $27 billion dollars from electricity consumers to pay for it. And courts have affirmed that we have a legal obligation to do it. As the generation that has benefited from the use of nuclear energy and the resulting spent fuel, I believe it is incumbent upon us to manage spent fuel in a manner that is fair to current generations and generations to come. I am introducing a bill today that will do just that.”
"For America to have energy security, a strong economy, and a clean environment; nuclear energy must play a vital role in our nation’s energy portfolio. Without a permanent storage facility for nuclear waste at Yucca Mountain, our country will become more dependent on foreign sources of energy and pollute our environment even more. Yucca Mountain is the most studied piece of earth on this planet, but sadly, opposition is based on politics, not on sound science. In 2002, Congress voted to open Yucca Mountain. It’s time we move forward and remove the regulatory hurdles standing in the way. Opponents of Yucca have wasted taxpayer dollars, reduced our energy security, and threatened the health of our economy."
“Idaho signed an agreement with the federal government in 1994 that requires all of our Cold War legacy waste material to be removed from Idaho and stored permanently at the Yucca Mountain site no later than 2035. Let me be clear: there is no other option for these types of waste but to permanently dispose of them in this fashion. The citizens of our States will be relying on strong leadership from future Administrations to make this happen. What I heard in Nevada last week deeply troubles me, and I suspect is troubling the people of South Carolina this week. This serious issue deserves better than political pandering. More than 30 states, including my own, are acutely involved in the safe and timely disposal of spent nuclear fuel and defense waste; that is why I am cosponsoring this bill, and why I introduced a companion bill with Sen. Domenici last year. Together, these two bills will allow Yucca Mountain to accept and safely dispose of the waste from all these States on a predictable timeline, replacing the uncertainty that we have today.”
“Nuclear power is one of the best ways to achieve reliable, carbon-free electricity,” said Alexander, a member of the Environment & Public Works Committee. “Solving the problem of nuclear waste disposal is a critical step toward increasing the role of nuclear power in our nation’s energy portfolio. Tennessee Valley Authority ratepayers have already paid hundreds of millions of dollars into Yucca Mountain, so the federal government should move forward with Yucca Mountain to provide both a solution for nuclear waste storage and to make sure that this investment by TVA ratepayers isn’t wasted. Ultimately, solving the disposal problem is important for the entire nation because we need more nuclear power to increase our energy independence and clean our air.”
"Americans want clean energy solutions, and nuclear power with zero air pollution and zero carbon emissions is our best option. I hope the ‘Not In My Back Yard’ attitude will not block this nuclear bill and deprive our families, workers and the environment from this clean energy solution they deserve."
"Yucca Mountain has already been designated as the site for a permanent repository; this legislation provides the avenue to make that repository a reality. The construction of a permanent and environmentally-safe repository will not only benefit those states with interim storage facilities, like my home state of Idaho, but also allows for increased independence from fossil fuels and foreign sources of energy by clearing the way for the development of new nuclear plants. While allowing for the production of nuclear energy, this bill also ensures public safety by meeting the standards set by the Environment and Public Works Committee."