Idaho Falls, ID.—In a letter to U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu, nineteen national and regional nuclear-related organizations expressed “growing concern” over possible defunding of the Yucca Mountain license application pending before the U.S. Nuclear regulatory Commission (NRC).
“Termination of the Yucca Mountain license application would be premature and unwise as well as deleterious in general to the Nation’s energy independence, environmental progress, economic competitiveness, job creation and national security,” the organizations said.
Ramifications from the abandonment of the license application as specified in the letter include:
Leaving the Nation with no path forward or “Plan B” for the Nation’s nuclear waste management;
Stranding up to 140,000 metric tons or more of spent commercial fuel and defense waste at 121 sites in 39 states;
Exacerbating the current breach-of-contract with respect to the Government’s longstanding failure to meet its legal obligation to begin collecting spent nuclear fuel;
Unraveling the Nuclear Waste Fund now reflecting an aggregate electricity consumer investment of nearly $31 billion;
Disproportionately impacting defense waste states by undermining the DOE’s own agreements with states and local governments to remove defense-related high-level waste, as well as agreements governing the U.S. Navy’s nuclear fuel management options.
Re-opening site investigations for a national geologic repository in up to 28 states;
Unnecessarily abandoning the pending Yucca Mountain license process representing more than 40 years of scientific investigation and $10 billion of taxpayer funding toward development of a national repository while terminating up to 7000 jobs;
Removing funding of cooperative agreements with regional transportation organizations;
Contradicting the President’s memorandum on Scientific;
Needlessly undercutting full trust and confidence in the independence of the proposed Blue Ribbon panel; and
Creating an unnecessary hurdle and uncertainty for new nuclear generation in the United States.
“Yucca Mountain is currently the ‘safest and best option’ for managing spent commercial fuel and high-level waste’ given the parameters of the U.S. law” said Lane Allgood, the executive director of Partnership for Science and Technology and one of the letters collaborators. “Cancelling this program without providing a bona fide alternative path forward is troubling, particularly to future generations, who bear the full burden of this action.”
“We encourage the DOE to continue with the current approach of providing costs necessary to answer inquiries from the NRC, while the Administration devises a new strategy toward nuclear waste disposal, as stipulated in the President’s budget submission to congress in February,” the letter said.
Letter co-signers include:
Partnership for Science and Technology
Greater Idaho Falls Chamber of Commerce
Idaho Chamber Alliance
INL Retired Employees Association