December 10, 2008
DOE Reports on Yucca Mountain Released
‘Unless Congress raises or eliminates the current statutory capacity limit of 70,000 metric tons of heavy metal, a second repository will be needed’
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator James Inhofe (R-Okla.), Ranking Member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, commented today on a report released yesterday by the Department of Energy on the need for a second repository for spent nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste. DOE has reported to Congress on the need for a second repository indicating that Congress should either remove the statutory size limitation on the proposed Yucca Mountain repository or authorize siting for a second repository. Additional repository space will be needed for spent fuel and high-level waste from defense activities and civilian nuclear plants.
"Opponents of Yucca Mountain regularly state that Yucca Mountain is dead and will never be built," Senator Inhofe said. “My question to them is: Then what state is going to host the repository?
"That question is echoed once again in DOE’s report: If the size of the repository remains limited by law, then where will DOE site the next repository? Before focusing on Yucca Mountain, DOE and its predecessor, the Energy Research and Development Administration, had evaluated sites in over 30 states based on the presence of favorable geologic formations. As this report indicates, one program for screening second repository sites would expand exploration to include additional geologic formations that would qualify all 48 contiguous states as having potentially suitable sites.
“How can opponents of Yucca justify abandoning a site where we’ve invested $8 billion and 30 years’ worth of study BEFORE the Nuclear Regulatory Commission has even evaluated it, only to subject 48 states to another siting process? I believe it is incumbent upon us to manage spent fuel in a manner that is fair to current generations and generations to come. I understand that there are those in Nevada who see no benefits for hosting the repository. However, arbitrarily restarting the siting process merely kicks the can down the road, forcing future generations to wrestle with the problem.”
# # #