Eighteen Organizations Urge Continued Funding for Yucca Mountain; Ask for Release of Documents on Proposed Termination

Mar 17, 2010, 11:38 ET from Sustainable Fuel Cycle Task Force

Suspension of $770 Million Annual Nuclear Waste Fee Called for if Project Cancelled

WASHINGTON, March 17 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A coalition of leading national and regional organizations -- representing energy and individual taxpayers; state elected and regulatory officials; communities and energy-related businesses -- expressed vigorous support for the continuation of the Yucca Mountain repository program in letters to key Congressional appropriators.  The group urged release of all documents associated with the Obama Administration's decision to cancel the program while advocating "immediate suspension" of payments to the Nuclear Waste Fund in the event the U.S. Congress agrees to implement the Department's termination request.

"This proposed action will unnecessarily leave the United States with no path forward or operative 'Plan B' for the Nation's nuclear waste, violate the provisions of the bipartisanly-enacted Nuclear Waste Policy Act, represent unjustified intrusion into an ongoing review by the NRC, contradicting the President's Memorandum on Scientific Integrity; result in wholly inadequate funding to preserve the integrity of the taxpayers' $10 billion investment; and continue to siphon approximately $770 million annually from electricity consumers in 41 states," the organizations said in letters to Senate and House leaders of the energy and water development appropriations subcommittees.

The letter asked the Committees to consider restoring sufficient funding for the DOE to continue its defense of the Yucca Mountain license application; deny DOE reprogramming of FY2010 appropriations; ensure that the Blue Ribbon Commission on America's Nuclear Energy Future's study includes Yucca Mountain; facilitate the public release of all documents associated with the Administration's decision-making on project termination and license withdrawal; require on an urgent basis the preservation of all information of scientific value; and suspend collection of payments to the Nuclear Waste Fund "immediately" in the event the project is ultimately cancelled.

"Yucca Mountain is the most viable option for managing spent commercial fuel and defense waste under the current law, recognizing that the Blue Ribbon Commission has every right to review and enhance the current strategy.  Cancelling this program, without providing a bona fide alternative path forward, remains unacceptable and troubling, particularly to defense and civilian waste communities, taxpayers and future generations who will bear the full burden of this action," the letter said.

Letter co-signers are:  Sustainable Fuel Cycle Task Force; National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners; United States Chamber of Commerce; National Association of Manufacturers; Citizens Against Government Waste; United States Nuclear Infrastructure Council; Partnership for Science and Technology; Nuclear Waste Strategy Coalition; Tri-City Development Council; Institute for 21st Century Energy; United States Nuclear Energy Foundation; Idaho Chamber Alliance; Coalition 21; Alliance for Nevada's Economic Prosperity; Economic Development Partnership of Aiken and Edgefield Counties (SC); Nevadans 4 Carbon Free Energy; SRS Community Reuse Organization; and Greater Idaho Falls Chamber of Commerce.  A copy of the letter is available at www.sustainablefuelcycle.com.

SOURCE Sustainable Fuel Cycle Task Force