Special Order: Nuclear Waste Policy Amendments Act of 2017

Mar 5, 2018
Press Release

Special Order: Nuclear Waste Policy Amendments Act of 2017

By. Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC)

March 5th, 2018

In 2002, after extensive research by the Department of Energy (DOE), scientists concluded that Yucca Mountain met all the requirements to act as a repository for high level radioactive waste. After which, the DOE applied for the license from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to begin construction of the Yucca Mountain facility.

Unfortunately, due to political brinksmanship, those plans have stalled indefinitely, despite the fact that ratepayers have contributed nearly $30 Billion to the nuclear waste fund, which is specifically designated to be used for Yucca Mountain.

The federal government and taxpayers have dedicated enormous resources to completing the nuclear storage facility at Yucca Mountain. However, the Obama Administration did everything in its power to stall the completion of the facility, holding up construction under political red tape— even though the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s own safety evaluation found it would not be a threat to the local population of Nevada, and it would benefit all of America.

Thankfully, the Nuclear Waste Policy Amendments Act of 2017 will finally remove unnecessary burdens to make much needed improvements to our national nuclear waste strategy.

This legislation is especially important to the residents of South Carolina. South Carolina ratepayers have invested over $1.3 billion into Yucca over the last 30 years—that’s in addition to the billions of dollars collected from ratepayers across the country. During this time, states like South Carolina have remained de facto repositories for nuclear waste. The federal government should finish what they started and complete the Yucca Mountain license application.

Currently, SNF is stored in 121 different neighborhoods, across 39 states- all waiting to be moved to a permanent location. The Nuclear Waste Policy Amendments Act will address the concerns of communities across the country, in a cost-effective manner, and passed the Energy and Commerce Committee with bi-partisan support, 49 members voting in favor and only 4 against. I am grateful for the opportunity to support this legislation, and am hopeful that it will provide much needed clarification on the disposal of spent nuclear fuel.

I am grateful that text from my bill, the Sensible Nuclear Waste Disposition Act was included in this bill and thank Chairman John Shimkus for his leadership.