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ICYMI: E&C Republicans Fight For Permanent, Safe Storage of Nuclear Waste


08.07.20

Washington, DC – E&C Republicans continue to fight for a permanent solution to addressing the safe storage of nuclear waste. After House Democrats failed to include vital funding for the Yucca Mountain repository in Nevada, Environment and Climate Change Subcommittee Republican Leader John Shimkus (R-IL), Consumer Protection and Commerce Subcommittee Republican Leader Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), and Energy and Commerce Committee Republican Jeff Duncan (R-SC) spoke on the House Floor about the importance of funding for Yucca Mountain.

You can find videos of their speeches and highlights below. Read more about Yucca Mountain here.

Environment and Climate Change Subcommittee Republican Leader John Shimkus (R-IL) on Sound Science Supporting Yucca Mountain’s Safety

“…Over the past 30 years $15 billion has been [spent], and I brought examples of that $15 billion. Mr. Speaker, this is one box of five of the Department of Energy scientific analysis of the safety of Yucca Mountain, the long-term repository. They finished that, and then they turned over all their science. Let me tell you who was part of this billions of dollars of research by eight national labs…. Eight labs, the US Geological Survey, and many universities helped do this research. Then they sent research to our independent Nuclear Safety Agency called the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. And [the NRC] issued a five-volume report. This is the fifth volume of that which says using Yucca Mountain as a long-term geological repository would be safe for a million years. Not 10,000 years. Not 100,000 years. Not 500,000 years. A million years. Now who did this research? Well you had experts in geochemistry, hydrology, climatology, structural geology, volcanology, seismology, and health physics, as well as chemical, civilian, mechanical, nuclear, mining, materials, and geological engineering.[It’s a] a travesty we spend $2.2 million every day for not complying with the law. This bill does not help us comply with the law. In fact, I would say this bill breaks the law.”

Consumer Protection and Commerce Subcommittee Republican Leader Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) Highlights How Yucca Mountain is Critical to U.S. Leadership in Nuclear Innovation

“There’s a glaring omission: funding for the long-term storage of nuclear waste, safely storing our nation’s existing and future nuclear waste and Yucca Mountain is of paramount importance. Eastern Washington pioneered some of the most important breakthroughs in nuclear technology of the last century at the Hanford Site near tri-cities Washington, and their efforts are critical to continuing the development and the expansion of nuclear power in the next century. However, this important work came at a cost. Today more than 2,000 tons of spent nuclear waste and millions of gallons of high-level waste await disposal at the Hanford Site, which is why it is so necessary that we move forward with Yucca Mountain  and properly dispose of the nuclear waste in Eastern Washington and from the sites in 38 other states across the country. The United States has led the world in nuclear energy innovation, and continued advancements in this important technology will be essential to meet our clean energy needs and maintain our global leadership in the 21st century. Failure to move forward with the Yucca Mountain site jeopardizes our ability to continue to innovate in the future and is unfair to the communities who have dealt with the cost of housing nuclear waste for the past 50 years…”

Energy and Commerce Committee Republican Jeff Duncan (R-SC) Underscores Yucca is the Law of the Land

“…the federal government will not follow the law passed by Congress. It’s the law of the land to store the nation’s nuclear waste and a long-term repository and Yucca Mountain is the site that was chosen by the federal government to store that. Now, government wants American people to follow the mandates recommended by the CDC, but they won’t follow a duly passed law. Let’s be clear: It doesn’t matter whether the Republicans or the Democrats control the House of Representatives or the White House. The law is ignored because of the politics of Nevada. This terminology the other side uses the science is settled? Well, the science is settled with regard to Yucca Mountain… I have a question for my colleagues, Republican and Democrat. How much have the utility ratepayers in your state forked out for nothing? I can tell you in South Carolina it’s over $3 billion. I can tell you that nationwide is about $40 billion. And folks, we’re not just talking about spent fuel, which sits at 121 sites in 39 states. There’s also yucky stuff sitting in Savannah River site, Idaho flats, Oak Ridge and Hanford, Washington that’s been turned to glass. Let’s put that glass, and the spent fuel, where the nation decided by law that we should put that. And that’s Yucca Mountain.”

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