Republican News

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Senator Frank H. Murkowski today made the following statement on Yucca Mountain, as the Senate moved to consider the resolution approving the site for licensing by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. “The Senate today is faced with a very important decision on the Yucca Mountain issue. We can follow the recommendations of the President, the Secretary of Energy, the House of Representatives, and Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee to allow the Yucca license application to proceed. Or we can abandon more than twenty years and $7 billion of science and engineering and begin this task all over again. There is no middle ground. “There will be many serious consequences if the Senate fails to approve this resolution. At a minimum we will need to reconsider the previous sites in Washington and Texas. Instead of removing material from these sites, we may need to consider moving additional material into them for permanent storage. “There are also health and safety issues associated with continuing to leave both spent fuel and high-level waste on site. Present reactor storage is safe, but was not designed as a permanent solution. If a repository is not built, these utilities will be forced to shut down their reactors. “Clean nuclear power is critical to our nation’s energy security and provides just over 20% of our electricity. Many states around the country rely on nuclear power to provide as much as 50% of their electricity. “We cannot afford the current shotgun approach of storing waste at sites scattered across the country. It’s not a solution, it is simply a symptom of the delays associated with opening Yucca Mountain. Now, more than ever, we need a safe, central secure facility for our nation’s nuclear waste. Now, more than ever, we need Yucca Mountain.” ###