Congress Examines Nuclear Waste Disposal Recommendations



During an 8 February U.S. congressional hearing to examine how to move forward on dealing with spent nuclear fuel and to review other recommendations of the recently released final report of the White House-appointed Blue Ribbon Commission on America's Nuclear Future (BRC), Yucca Mountain was the 65,000-ton gorilla in the room. BRC's charge was to conduct a comprehensive review of policies to manage the back end of the nuclear fuel cycle and recommend a new strategy for dealing with the 65,000 tons of spent nuclear fuel currently stored at 75 sites around the country and the 2000 tons of new spent fuel being produced each year. However, BRC specifically did not evaluate Yucca Mountain. A 26 January letter from BRC to U.S. secretary of energy Steven Chu states, “You directed that the Commission was not to serve as a siting body. Accordingly, we have not evaluated Yucca Mountain or any other location as a potential site for the storage of spent nuclear fuel or disposal of high-level waste nor have we taken a position on the administration's request to withdraw the Yucca Mountain license application.”