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Simpson Blasts NRC Handling of Yucca Mountain

Idaho Congressman testifies before House Committee about need for Yucca Mountain to move forward, calls for change at top of NRC

Washington, June 1, 2011
Tags: Energy
Idaho Congressman testifies before House Committee about need for Yucca Mountain to move forward, calls for change at top of NRC

The House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Environment and the Economy today held a hearing entitled, “The Department of Energy’s Role in Managing Civilian Radioactive Waste.” Idaho Congressman Mike Simpson was asked to testify about the Administration’s attempt to terminate the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository.

“The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is supposed to serve as an independent watchdog, driven by science, not politics,” said Simpson. “Unfortunately, the Chairman of the NRC has lost sight of its mission in order to affect a political outcome and has eroded the reputation of the NRC at a time when public confidence is needed most and he should be replaced.”

Current law designates Yucca Mountain as the nation’s repository to receive spent nuclear fuel and other high-level nuclear waste.  Last year, the Administration requested the license application for Yucca Mountain be withdrawn and the NRC’s licensing board denied that request. Since that time, the Chairman of the NRC, Gregory Jaczko has refused to act on the licensing board’s ruling, essentially stalling the project.

“Let’s be perfectly clear here, we all know why this decision was made. It wasn’t about science or the suitability of Yucca Mountain, or even the need for a geological repository for high-level nuclear waste. It was a promise made during the heat of a presidential campaign – it was pure politics,” Simpson said.  “However, the issue of citing the nation’s nuclear waste repository at Yucca Mountain is a matter of law, not politics.  It serves as the clearest example of an ever changing policy, which is costing the taxpayers billions of dollars and diminishing our ability to advance a long term energy policy for our country.”

To watch Congressman Simpson’s full testimony visit his YouTube webpage.