Nuclear Report Is Deeply Flawed

Friday, July 29, 2011
Nuclear Report Is Deeply Flawed

By Congressman Jay Inslee
Today, the Blue Ribbon Commission on American’s Nuclear Future released its draft report on the future of storing America’s spent nuclear fuel. The Commission was created in the wake of President Obama’s decision to scuttle the nation’s nuclear spent fuel repository in Yucca Mountain in Nevada. Yucca Mountain was first designated as a national repository in 1987, a designation that was reaffirmed overwhelming by Congress in 2002 and 2007.


“I appreciate the Commission’s time and effort, but their interim report is deeply flawed and their recommendations ensure that United States will waste billions of dollars in search of a solution that already exists,” explained Rep. Jay Inslee (WA-01). “That is why I helped lead a resolution of disapproval in the House last year, and why I led a successful bi-partisan effort to restore funding to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s review of Yucca Mountain two weeks ago.”


Since 1982, consumers have paid an excess of $33 billion into a fund for a national waste repository program, $290 million coming from Northwest ratepayers. In addition, $14 billion has already been spent on research and construction at Yucca Mountain, which was supposed to house 1,100 tons of high-level radioactive waste from Washington state's Hanford K Basins.


“This report performs an amazing feat of gymnastic logic,” said Inslee. “The Commission declares that a lack of community support killed Yucca and that a new ‘consent-based approach’ for future facilities is required. But, as I indicated during hearings on this issue, this consent-based approach would subject any and all disposal sites to the same type of obstacles as Yucca, meaning the recommendations of the Commission solve nothing.”


“The Commission admits that a consolidated geologic disposal facility is the solution, but seems unable to admit that a solid, scientifically assessed site already exists which could mean billions more in cost for ratepayers.”  


“I encourage the President to honor the will of Congress and reopen the Yucca project. If he fails to do so Congress will be forced to act in his place.” 


The full Commission report can be found online here.