Congresswoman Shelley Berkley today praised the Department of Energy for moving to permanently withdraw from consideration the license application for the failed Yucca Mountain nuclear waste dump. The motion seeking to pull the license from consideration is expected to be filed with nuclear regulators later this afternoon. The move is one more step toward permanently dismantling the proposed dump located 90 minutes outside Las Vegas following President Obama's declaration that he was terminating the project.
"Permanently pulling the license application is a critical step in dismantling Yucca Mountain once and for all so that this threat never haunts Nevada families again," said Berkley. "Nevadans are finally seeing the end to a 30-year effort to drive a nuclear "square peg' into a $100 billion "round hole' in the Nevada desert."
The move seeking permission to pull the license application for the proposed dump follows the announcement earlier today that the President's Blue Ribbon Commission on America's Nuclear Future will meet for the first time on March 25th and 26th in Washington, D.C.
"President Obama pledged to Nevadans that he would end efforts to turn our State into a radioactive garbage dump and now his Blue Ribbon Commission will begin its work to find an alternative to Yucca Mountain," said Berkley. "Whether it was earthquakes or other flaws at the site, the danger from waste shipments across the U.S. or its budget busting price tag -- President Obama was 100% right to dump Yucca Mountain," said Berkley.
Along with calling on the industry and its allies to support the panel's mission of finding an alternative to Yucca Mountain, Berkley is also challenging supporters of the dump to explain their calls for continued wasteful spending on the doomed project.
"Those still backing the dump clearly want to see wasteful spending on this project continue at a time when our nation is facing a fiscal crisis. Maybe they forget there's no magic money tree in Nevada that will pay for Yucca Mountain," Berkley said. "The cost to build this $100 billion dump will be passed along to the families of nuclear states in the form of higher energy bills every month and to taxpayers in the form of lawsuit settlements. Ending Yucca Mountain will also end plans for decades of nuclear waste shipments across the U.S. -- each a potential terrorist target or accident waiting to happen," said Berkley. "The time has also come for the nuclear industry to offer its own solutions to the nuclear waste issue that do not include any plan for dumping nuclear waste outside Las Vegas for the next one million years."
The Blue Ribbon Commission, co-chaired by former Congressman Lee Hamilton and former National Security Advisor General Brent Scowcroft, will conduct a comprehensive review of policies for managing the back end of the nuclear fuel cycle and will provide recommendations for developing a safe, long-term solution to managing the nation's used nuclear fuel and nuclear waste. The Commission is made up of 15 members who have a range of expertise and experience in nuclear issues, including scientists, industry representatives, and respected former elected officials.