Nuclear waste site funding supported by 26 organizations

A Sept. 15 letter to the U.S. Senate from 26 organizations said a license review for the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository should be funded for fiscal year 2012.

The groups, including the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC), the Prairie Island Indian Community and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, all say that a review by the U.S. Nuclear RegulatoryCommission (NRC) should continue and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) should license the waste site.

On July 15, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the FY2012 Energy and Water Appropriations bill, which provides $20 million to the NRC to continue the Yucca Mountain license review and $25 million to DOE to complete the license application.

NRC commissioners split on a vote Sept. 12 whether the DOE should continue or end the license review for Yucca Mountain. One commissioner was recused from the vote. NRC also directed that all work on licensing the site end by Sept. 30.

The industry letter said the groups believe the need for commercial spent fuel and defense waste management under the Nuclear Waste Policy Act is a “matter of urgency” and that ending the license application without an alternative plan is “premature and unwise.”

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