September 12, 2012
Opening Statement by Chairman Bingaman
“The Committee meets this morning to consider S. 3469, the Nuclear Waste Administration Act of 2012.
“S. 3469 is intended to implement the recommendations of the Blue Ribbon Commission that Secretary Chu appointed to review the nuclear waste program. The Blue Ribbon Commission issued its final report in January. This Committee heard from the two chairs of the Commission, General Brent Scowcroft and Representative Lee Hamilton, on that report in February.
“The Blue Ribbon Commission was worthy of its name. It was made up of 15 highly distinguished individuals from academia, from industry, and from public service. They approached their task conscientiously and diligently, and they produced a very thorough and comprehensive report.
“The Commission presented us with 8 clear, concise, and straightforward recommendations. I have tried to implement those recommendations in the bill that is now before us for this hearing. I worked closely with Senator Murkowski and the Chair and Ranking Member of the Energy and Water Development Appropriations Subcommittee, Senator Feinstein and Senator Alexander, in the effort.
“Regrettably, we were not as successful as the Blue Ribbon Commission was in reaching a unanimous, bipartisan consensus. Although we were able to agree on most issues, we could not reach an agreement on the siting process for storage facilities and how to ensure that temporary storage facilities do not become permanent substitutes for an underground repository. With time running out in this Congress, we agreed that I should go ahead and introduce the bill as it stands, and hold this hearing on the bill, and leave it to the next Congress to continue working on the issue.
“We are very fortunate to have General Scowcroft back with us this morning. We’re sorry that Congressman Hamilton could not be with us, and we extend to him and his family our sincere condolences on the tragic death of his wife Nancy last month. We appreciate Dr. Meserve stepping in for Congressman Hamilton today.
“We also welcome back Assistant Secretary Lyons to offer the Administration’s views on the bill.
“Following this panel, we will hear from Mr. Henry Barron, the President and Chief Executive Officer of Constellation Energy Nuclear Group, and Mr. Geoffrey Fettus, who is the Senior Attorney at the Natural Resources Defense Council.”
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