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Thursday, August 03, 2006

Senator Pete Domenici Promotes Yucca Mountain

The Senate Energy & Natural Resources Committee held a hearing today on the chairman's bill to enhance the licensing prospects of Yucca Mountain, designated by the Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1982 as the underground repository for the storage of nuclear waste. The Nuclear Fuel Management and Disposal Act (S. 2589) is a bill to enhance the management and disposal of spent nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste, to ensure protection of public health and safety, and to ensure the territorial integrity and security of the repository at Yucca Mountain.

Edward Sproat, Director of DOE's Office of Civilian Radioactive Waste Management, testified that Yucca Mountain will not meet the 2017 opening date without passage of this legislation. The Department of Energy also wants to expand the capacity at Yucca from 70,000 metric tons to 120,000 metric tons. Mr. Sproat also discussed a land withdrawal proposal, water rights issues related to the project and utilizing funds from the Nuclear Waste Fund to pay for infrastructure (roads, water systems, electric systems). (More from NEI) (NEI Update)

AAEA is frustrated by the delays in getting Yucca opened and operating. The original opening date was supposed to be 1998 and now it is 2017. DOE expects to file the permit application with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission in June 2008. These delays and other considerations led AAEA to form the Nuclear Fuels Recycling Coalition to take the management of nuclear waste out of DOE and transfer responsibilities to a Nuclear Waste Management Agency. We believe concentrating fission waste responsibilties in a single agency could speed up the opening date of Yucca Mountain and provide a structure for managing reprocessing facilities. (Photo: AAEA President Norris McDonald & Senator Pete Domenici)

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