Members Comment on Blue Ribbon Commission Report on Nuclear Waste Storage
Washington D.C. – Following the release of the Blue Ribbon Commission on America’s Nuclear Future Draft Report, Committee Chairman Ralph Hall (R-TX), Vice Chairman Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI), Investigations and Oversight Subcommittee Chairman Paul Broun (R-GA), and Energy and Environment Subcommittee Chairman Andy Harris (R-MD)released the following statements:
“I appreciate the good faith effort put forth by this highly-esteemed Blue Ribbon Commission led by General Scowcroft and Congressman Hamilton, and look forward to the Committee’s close examination of the Commission’s recommendations. However, it is unfortunate the Obama Administration explicitly prohibited the Commission from considering the use of Yucca Mountain, designated by law as the only permanent repository for storing high-level radioactive waste.
“American taxpayers spent nearly $15 billion to exhaustively study Yucca Mountain and, as detailed in the Committee’s recent report on nuclear waste management, NRC experts concluded that the site meets all regulatory safety standards. It is noteworthy that the Commission still recommends the need for at least one permanent geological repository. It is time to stop playing politics with America’s nuclear waste management policy and move forward with the Yucca Mountain Project.”
Vice Chairman Sensenbrenner:
“The Blue Ribbon Commission has offered various proposals to fix a problem we don’t have. The Draft Report states that the ‘American nuclear waste management program is at an impasse.’ We would not have this impasse but for the President’s politically-motivated decision to close Yucca Mountain. After years of study, we have not yet seen any sound scientific evidence that requires Yucca’s closure. But rather than following the science, including reports by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the President has jeopardized America’s ability to use nuclear energy and safely store waste.
“As Vice-Chairman of the House Science Committee, and ranking member on the Energy Independence and Global Warming Committee for its duration, I am frustrated by this Administration’s decision to stall progress on this key part of nuclear energy technology.”
“I am pleased to see that the Blue Ribbon Commission has finished its draft report and I look forward to reviewing their hard work. However, as thorough as their report may prove to be, it does not change the fact that the only reason for their existence was the unilateral decision of the Obama Administration to cancel Yucca Mountain, the most studied ground on this planet. Further, I am concerned the Commission’s recommendation for interim storage will result in Savannah River becoming de-facto permanent storage.
“After billions of dollars of work, NRC staff found that Yucca Mountain met all of the criteria for opening a geologic repository. Yet Chairman Jaczko has refused to release the Safety Evaluation Report for public review and is even now attempting to shut down public access to taxpayer funded documents that are part of the lengthy record. Hopefully, the balanced and transparent work of the Blue Ribbon Commission will be a model for how Chairman Jaczko should conduct operations of the NRC in the future.”
“As a scientist, I’m incredibly concerned when politics trumps real science. It is time for President Obama to lead on the Yucca Mountain issue and follow his self-proclaimed principles of scientific integrity and not arbitrarily burden American taxpayers and the economy with more unnecessary wasteful government spending to find an alternative.”