Alexander Statement on Yucca Mountain Clearing Safety Hurdles

Posted on January 29, 2015

WASHINGTON, Jan. 29, 2015 – U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), the top Senate Republican on energy appropriations issues, today released the following statement on the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s publication of the final two volumes of the safety evaluation report for the nuclear waste repository at Yucca Mountain, which confirms the project’s safety:

“Today’s report settles it: To continue to oppose Yucca Mountain because of radiation concerns is to ignore science. This report says that Yucca Mountain would meet all of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s performance requirements for safe operation. Combined with previous reports, the science is clear that Yucca Mountain would meet all safety requirements related to radiation. There is no reason Congress shouldn’t make Yucca Mountain part of the solution to end the stalemate on nuclear waste – paving the way for nuclear power to be a larger source of the clean, cheap, reliable electricity we need to power our 21st-century economy.”

Today’s report confirms that it is possible to safely dispose of nuclear waste in the repository at Yucca Mountain, and that the U.S. Department of Energy is able to safely operate the facility while the waste is being deposited. It follows the NRC’s publication in December of volume four of the safety evaluation, which confirmed that the Department of Energy’s management plan for Yucca Mountain – including research and development and performance confirmation programs, as well as other administrative controls, systems and programs – meet applicable NRC requirements.

Completion of Yucca Mountain would require Congress exclusively dedicating the land for use as a nuclear waste repository and funding the project, and the Department of Energy acquiring sufficient water rights. Alexander is chairman of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Energy & Water Development, which oversees funding for energy issues, including nuclear weapons facilities and Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee.

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