Alexander Statement on U.S. Energy Department’s Blue Ribbon Commission on Nuclear Waste

Posted on January 29, 2010

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) today released the following statement regarding U.S. Secretary of Energy Steven Chu’s announcement of the formation of a Blue Ribbon Commission on America’s Nuclear Future to provide recommendations for developing a safe, long-term solution to managing the nation’s used nuclear fuel and nuclear waste:

“This commission and the president’s endorsement of a new generation of nuclear power plants are welcome steps that will enable the United States to catch up with the rest of the world in building the most reliable way to produce cheap, carbon-free electricity. If the president’s budget, as rumored, also increases loan guarantees for new nuclear plants, that would be a third significant step. This will help put our country on a course toward a low-cost, clean-energy future and move us away from a national windmill policy that has been the energy equivalent of going to war in sailboats.” 

In light of the administration’s decision not to proceed with the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository, the president directed Secretary Chu to establish a Commission to provide advice and make recommendations on issues including alternatives for the storage, processing, and disposal of spent nuclear fuel and nuclear waste.   

The president’s proposed budget for Fiscal Year 2011 is expected to include an increase in the currently authorized level of loan guarantees for nuclear power from $18.5 to $54 billion.  These loan guarantees would enable utilities to lower the cost of financing and cost the taxpayer little to nothing when the loans are paid back.