FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: ROBERT DILLON (202) 224-6977
MARCH 5, 2009 or ANNE JOHNSON (202) 224-7875
MURKOWSKI URGES ADMINISTRATION TO DEVELOP WORKABLE SOLUTION TO NUCLEAR WASTE ISSUE
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, today expressed her disappointment with the administration’s decision to halt plans to use Yucca Mountain in Nevada as a nuclear waste repository.
At a Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing on energy research and development, Secretary of Energy Steven Chu said Yucca Mountain is no longer an option for dealing with the nation’s spent nuclear fuel.
The administration has consistently said that nuclear power must be part of the nation’s energy solution. Yet withdrawing support for the Yucca Mountain repository, without providing a viable alternative, presents a serious roadblock to the continued growth of our nation’s primary source of carbon emissions-free energy.
Murkowski said she believes the nation needs nuclear energy to meet the Obama administration’s aggressive goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions through a mandatory cap on carbon emissions.
“We’ve spent billions of dollars and many years preparing for Yucca Mountain to be our nation’s nuclear waste site,” Murkowski said. “Nuclear energy provides us with emissions-free energy today, but closing Yucca Mountain sends an unmistakable signal to nuclear developers that they might not have a place to store their waste, making them less willing to develop new facilities.”
“Given our nation’s lack of adequate domestic energy, we can’t afford to send poor policy signals to the nuclear industry,” Murkowski said.
Nuclear Regulatory Commission funding for the Yucca Mountain license review is currently insufficient to complete the review by 2012, as required by the Nuclear Waste Policy Act. In light of the administration commitment to base policy decisions on sound science, it is contradictory to abandon the Nevada repository before the license review is complete.
“If we’ve shut down Yucca Mountain without any viable alternative, we’re in trouble,” Murkowski said. “The administration needs to come up with a workable solution to the spent fuel management problem.”