Press Releases

Simpson Addresses Reactor Safety and Yucca Mountain

Congressional hearing confirms U.S. reactors’ safety and reiterates Congress’s desire to keep Yucca open

f t # e
Washington, March 31, 2011 | comments
“It doesn't take a doctorate in political science to recognize that this Administration's actions to close down Yucca Mountain are driven more by politics and a desire to please Nevada Senator Harry Reid than they are by science or what is best for taxpayers,” said Simpson. “Chairman Jazko is purposefully defying the will of Congress and acting unilaterally to waste billions of taxpayers dollars. It is very frustrating to me and to most Members of Congress that this type of manipulation is happening at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, and we intend to make sure Chairman Jazko is held to account for his actions and that the requirements of federal law are fulfilled.”
share: f t

Idaho Congressman Mike Simpson today chaired the House Appropriations Energy and Water Subcommittee hearing discussing the budget for Department of Energy’s Office of Nuclear Energy and the budget for Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Both the Acting Assistant Secretary of the Office of Nuclear Energy, Dr. Pete Lyons, and the Chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Gregory Jaczko, testified before the Subcommittee.

Simpson used the hearing to explore the lessons learned in the aftermath of Japan’s tsunami.  Both Jaczko and Lyons stated for the record that although there are lessons to be learned from the disaster in Japan, U.S. reactors are currently safe.  In addition, the NRC is conducting additional reviews of all licensed nuclear power plants and DOE is reviewing all of its licenses, including Idaho’s Advanced Test Reactor.  The hearing also highlighted safety improvements going forward with passive safety technology. Passively safe reactors rely on gravity and pressurized tanks, thus eliminating the need for electricity and operator action.

Later, Simpson grilled Jaczko over the handling of Yucca Mountain and his decision to terminate licensing activities despite the clear intent of Congress that those activities move forward. “I firmly believe that you are acting outside the law,” Simpson told Jaczko.  When Jaczko began defending the commission’s action by referencing provisions in the President's budget that do not have the effect of law, Simpson cut him short and responded, “Commission approval of a budget doesn’t mean diddly - what matters is what passes Congress.”

Simpson has actively opposed attempts by the Obama Administration to terminate preparations of Yucca Mountain as our nation's permanent repository for spent nuclear fuel and high-level nuclear waste. He has repeatedly acted to support continuation of Yucca Mountain's development and used his position on the House Appropriations Committee to ensure adequate funding for activities at the site.

Following the hearing, Simpson expressed his dismay with the actions of the Obama Administration and Chairman Jazko in relation to Yucca Mountain.  “It doesn't take a doctorate in political science to recognize that this Administration's actions to close down Yucca Mountain are driven more by politics and a desire to please Nevada Senator Harry Reid than they are by science or what is best for taxpayers,” said Simpson. “Chairman Jaczko is purposefully defying the will of Congress and acting unilaterally to waste billions of taxpayers dollars. It is very frustrating to me and to most Members of Congress that this type of manipulation is happening at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, and we intend to make sure Chairman Jaczko is held to account for his actions and that the requirements of federal law are fulfilled.”

f t # e
Tags: Energy

TEXT SIZE