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Public Statements

Executive Session

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. ISAKSON. First of all, I wish to thank the Senator from South Carolina for his leadership on this important issue, and I am proud to join the senior Senator from Georgia Saxby Chambliss and, in effect, join Sam Nunn, who is a former Senator from Georgia who, with Dick Lugar, brought about the Nuclear Threat Initiative program which brought about the treaty of 2000 which calls for the reduction by 68 metric tons of nuclear materials.

I would answer the question of the Senator from South Carolina with another question: Where else in the United States of America are there two States willing to accept plutonium, reprocess it into fuel rod for commercial use, and do it safely and have dealt with nuclear materials for over 50 years? That is Georgia and South Carolina.

The idea that we can fund a study to look for an alternative is laughable. That is just merely a smokescreen for the current administration's position.

The Senator is exactly right. Senator Chambliss and myself, along with Senator Scott and Senator Graham, are happy to sit down with the administration, look at the cost overrun on the MOX facility, and find ways to find savings. But the dumbest economic decision in the world would be to stop the process when we are half finished because then we have wasted every dime that has already been spent, and we have to spend more money on an alternative that does not exist.

So I wish to add my support to the remarks of Senator Graham and my State's support to reprocess this weapons-grade plutonium into reprocessed materials that fuel powerplants and commercial opportunities. That is a good use. It is a good way to get rid of this nuclear material, and it is also a good way to keep it out of the hands of the terrorists. If we don't destroy it and it lays around in Russia or anywhere else, it is always suspected of being stolen or used in a way that none of us would ever want.

I thank the Senator for his leadership.


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