The NFRC was established in 2002 to promote the construction and operation of nuclear reprocessing facilities. NFRC promotes reprocessing commercial spent nuclear fuel that is generated by commercial nuclear power plants.

Reprocessing dramatically reduces the amount of high-level radioactive waste that would have to be stored in a geologic repository. We also support reprocessing plutonium and highly enriched uranium from nuclear warheads into fuel for use in commercial nuclear power plants.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Support Letter for Yucca Mountain Appropriations Bill

September 1, 2011

The Honorable Dianne Feinstein, Chairman
Senate Appropriations’ Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development

The Honorable Lamar Alexander, Ranking Member
Senate Appropriations’ Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development

Dear Senators:

The undersigned organizations, which collectively represent a national cross-section of energy consumers, regulators, elected officials and businesses, are writing to advise you of our strong support for funding in the FY2012 Energy and Water Development appropriations bill for resumption of the Yucca Mountain Project review by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) and related licensing-support activities at the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).

As you know, the House voted on July 15 in favor of the FY2012 Energy and Water Appropriations bill, which provides a total of $20 million to the NRC for the continuation of the license review for the Yucca Mountain Project (reached through the bipartisan approval of a floor amendment doubling the original funding mark of $10 million by a resounding vote of 297-130) and $25 million to DOE for continuing its activities towards completing the Yucca Mountain licensing application.

In addition, a recent House Science, Space, and Technology Committee review of the Yucca Mountain Safety Evaluation Report (Volume III) found the licensing application “complies with applicable NRC safety requirements, including those related to human health and groundwater protection, and the specific performance objectives called for in NRC regulations for disposal of high-level radioactive wastes at Yucca Mountain.”

Moreover, on July 29, in a draft report to Energy Secretary Steven Chu, the Blue Ribbon Commission on America’s Nuclear Future (BRC) stressed their “shared sense of urgency” with respect to addressing the back-end of the fuel cycle noting that “this nation’s failure to come to grips with the nuclear waste issue has already proved damaging and costly and it will be more damaging and more costly the longer it continues.”  The BRC draft report concludes that “deep geologic disposal capacity is an essential component of a comprehensive nuclear waste management system” while calling for “prompt efforts to develop one or more geological disposal facilities.”

They further add: ‘The recent decision by the Administration to attempt to withdraw the Yucca Mountain license application has further diminished confidence in the government’s ability to provide a safe and timely solution for the disposal of spent fuel and HLWs”… and …”it is clear to the Commission that waste cleanup commitments were made to states and communities across the United States, and to the nuclear utility industry and its ratepayers and shareholders, that have not been upheld. The decision to suspend work on the repository has left all of these parties wondering, not for the first time, if the federal government will ever deliver on its promises.”

As further stipulated by the Commission, the continued spent fuel management stalemate is “damaging to prospects for maintaining a potentially important energy supply option for the future, damaging to state–federal relations and public confidence in the federal government’s competence, and damaging to America’s standing in the world— not only as a source of nuclear technology and policy expertise but as a leader on global issues of nuclear safety, non-proliferation, and security. Continued stalemate is also costly—to utility ratepayers, to communities that have become unwilling hosts of long-term nuclear waste storage facilities, and to U.S. taxpayers who face mounting liabilities, already running into billions of dollars, as a result of the failure by both the executive and legislative branches to meet federal waste management.”

While we do not necessarily concur with all the conclusion of the Commission, we do believe that termination of the Yucca Mountain license application has been proven to be premature and unwise as well as deleterious in general to the nation’s energy independence, economic competitiveness and environmental progress – and that House action to facilitate resumption of the Yucca Mountain review in FY2012 – which heretofore has found the site to be safe and viable -- is strongly warranted.

We hope that these views will be helpful in your consideration of the FY2012 Energy and Water Development Appropriations.

Please note that – while these views represent the consensus viewpoints of the undersigned organization – they do not necessarily represent the specific views of every individual member of these organizations.


Clinton E. Crackel, Co-Chairman
Nuclear Fuels Reprocessing Coalition

No comments:

Post a Comment