WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, today made the following opening statement during a Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing on S. 3469, the Nuclear Waste Administration Act of 2012:
“Mr. Chairman, thank you for holding this hearing on a topic that needs to be resolved in order for nuclear energy to play the role that it is capable of in meeting our energy needs. While I have been skeptical regarding the need to delay progress on resolving these issues while the Blue Ribbon Commission deliberated, the Blue Ribbon Commission itself is a credible group that has produced a thoughtful report regarding how to move our Nation’s spent nuclear fuel program forward.
“Although there may be little that is truly new in their proposals, I am optimistic that the report has ignited a heightened sense of urgency and renewed focus on these issues. As the commission’s report notes, the government’s failure to address our nuclear waste issues is damaging to the development of future nuclear power and simultaneously worsening our nation’s financial situation. We need to act, and we need to act soon.
“Mr. Chairman, the legislation that you introduced is indicative of months of good, productive discussions between you, Senator Feinstein, Senator Alexander, and myself discussing ways to address the back-end of the nuclear fuel cycle. I congratulate you for moving the discussion forward and putting a marker out there toward reaching that goal.
“While we ultimately could not bridge the issue of linking progress on interim storage and a permanent repository, I want to be clear to those following these discussions that while prospects for legislative enactment this Congress are not favorable, we will continue the effort next year and build upon the progress that the Chairman has begun.
“I will also note that the Senate Energy and Water Appropriations bill contains language that seeks to move interim storage forward in a timely manner. While a short-term continuing resolution appears likely to be agreed to in the next several days, I am hopeful that the interim storage language will be included when Congress acts on the full Fiscal Year 2013 spending bills.
“In addition, we would be remiss if we did not examine the impact of the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia’s remand of the NRC’s Waste Confidence Decision on new license applications and license renewals and how legislation along the lines of S. 3469 could help address the Court’s concerns.”
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