Press Releases

Simpson Introduces Resolution Criticizing NRC Chairman’s Decision on Yucca Mt

Washington, November 18, 2010
Tags: Energy
“Time and time again, Congress has supported Yucca Mountain as the only option for a long–term nuclear storage site, and it has repeatedly and overwhelmingly rejected attempts to shut down the program,” said Simpson. “The American taxpayer has spent over $8 billion studying Yucca Mountain and is liable for billions more for breach of contract. During a time of record budget deficits, it is unconscionable that the NRC Chairman and DOE would waste billions of dollars of taxpayer money with no return on the investment.”

Idaho Congressman Mike Simpson introduced a House Resolution today condemning the Chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) for his unilateral decision to begin the closure of the Yucca Mountain license application review. He was joined by twelve other Republican members, many of whom sit on committees with jurisdiction over the NRC or Yucca Mountain. Simpson condemned the decision and called on the NRC to immediately resume activities.

“Time and time again, Congress has supported Yucca Mountain as the only option for a long–term nuclear storage site, and it has repeatedly and overwhelmingly rejected attempts to shut down the program,” said Simpson. “The American taxpayer has spent over $8 billion studying Yucca Mountain and is liable for billions more for breach of contract.  During a time of record budget deficits, it is unconscionable that the NRC Chairman and DOE would waste billions of dollars of taxpayer money with no return on the investment.”

NRC Chairman Gregory Jaczko has been quoted as saying that he is moving the agency to close down licensing activities based on the guidance of the Administration’s FY2011 proposed budget. The agency is currently operating under a temporary continuing resolution because its final budget was not approved before the 2011 fiscal year started on October 1st. 

This resolution notes the NRC’s Atomic Safety and Licensing Board found that the Yucca Mountain license application cannot be legally withdrawn and that the NRC’s Inspector General has launched an investigation of the Chairman’s unilateral decision to terminate the review of the Yucca Mountain application. It formally condemns the Chairman and calls on the NRC to resume license activities immediately pending further direction from Congress.

“Historically, the NRC maintained a role as an independent apolitical regulatory and oversight body,” said Simpson. “It is unconscionable that the NRC Chairman is moving forward unilaterally to shut down the program without the support of Congress or the support of his own commissioners.  The Chairman’s recent actions jeopardize the NRC’s reputation and put the Chairman at risk of making it into just another agency playing partisan politics with Americans’ hard-earned money.”

The cosponsors include the following:

  • Jerry Lewis (R-CA); Ranking Member, Committee on Appropriations
  • Doc Hastings (R-WA); Ranking Member, Natural Resources
  • Paul Ryan (R-WI); Ranking Member, Committee on Budget
  • Joe Barton (R-TX); Ranking Member, Committee on Energy and Commerce
  • Ralph Hall (R-TX); Ranking Member, Science and Technology Committee
  • James Sensenbrenner (R-WI); Ranking Member, Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming
  • Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-NJ); Ranking Member, Energy and Water Subcommittee on Appropriations
  • Zack Wamp (R-TN); Member of Energy and Water Subcommittee on Appropriations
  • Dennis Rehberg (R-MT); Member of Energy and Water Subcommittee on Appropriations
  • Ken Calvert (R-CA); Member of Energy and Water Subcommittee on Appropriations
  • Rodney Alexander (R-CA); Member of Energy and Water Subcommittee on Appropriations
  • Gresham Barrett (R-SC); Represents Savannah River Cleanup Site
  • Ed Whitfield (R-KY); Represents Paducah Cleanup Site