US nuclear industry applauds Yucca Mountain Senate vote

10 July 2002 – The decision by the US Senate yesterday to pass a resolution approving Yucca Mountain, Nev., as the site for a federal repository for used nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive nuclear waste from US defence programmes has been welcomed by the US nuclear industry.

“This is a great day for US energy security and common-sense environmentalism. A bipartisan group of US Senators from all regions of the country had the courage of their convictions to choose good public policy in the face of intense political pressure,” said Joe F. Colvin, the Nuclear Energy Institute’s president and chief executive officer.

In a statement Colvin said, “The Senate’s approval of the Yucca Mountain resolution is a clear signal of continued congressional support for nuclear energy and the reliable, clean electricity it supplies to one of every five American homes and businesses. Consolidating used nuclear fuel from nuclear power plants and high-level radioactive waste from US defence programmes is good for US energy security, national security and our environment. It is also vitally important that our government keep faith with the millions of electricity consumers who since 1983 have committed $18bn to finance the government’s nuclear waste disposal programme.”

“Twenty years of unprecedented scientific evaluation of every geologic and environmental aspect have clearly determined Yucca Mountain’s suitability as a repository for used nuclear fuel. It’s important that the government continue to move forward on the Yucca Mountain project as long as science deems it prudent to do so. Today’s vote rightly allows the Yucca Mountain evaluation process to proceed to the licensing phase.

The statement continued, “The industry fully realizes that safe transportation of used nuclear fuel and defence waste is critical to the success of the Yucca Mountain programme. It is dedicated to maintaining its stellar record of the past 38 years that has witnessed more than 3000 shipments without a single incidence of a release of radiation.

“The industry appreciates the leadership that President Bush, Energy Secretary Abraham, Senators Bingaman, Murkowski and Craig, Speaker Hastert, Congressmen Tauzin, Dingell, Barton, Boucher and many other members of Congress on both sides of the aisle have provided to advance this program. They are all to be commended for their vigorous efforts to protect the environment and strengthen our nation’s energy security.”

The Nuclear Energy Institute is the nuclear energy industry’s Washington- based policy organization. This news release and additional information about nuclear energy are available on NEI’s Internet site at .

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