U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) today welcomed a federal appeals court ruling ordering the Department of Energy to zero out its nuclear waste fee until work resumes on Yucca Mountain or another repository.
"I applaud today's decision by the D.C. Circuit court. Halting collection of the waste fee is the right decision in light of the administration's refusal to take seriously the need to address the backend of the nuclear fuel cycle," Murkowski said.
The idea that the administration would continue to collect hundreds of millions of dollars from utilities, and ultimately ratepayers, is unacceptable. I would encourage the administration to move quickly to restart work on the Yucca Mountain repository to deal with our permanent storage needs. The Senate should also immediately take up the nuclear waste legislation that I have been working on with my colleagues to deal with our storage demands in the immediate future.
The Nuclear Waste Administration Act (S. 1240) would establish an independent agency to address the nation's stockpile of used nuclear fuel by advancing both interim and permanent storage facilities.
"This legislation does not diminish the need for a permanent repository -- we still need Yucca Mountain or a similar site -- but it provides a short-term solution to consolidate the used fuel that is left sitting at various sites across the country and helps resolve the federal government's outstanding liability," Murkowski said.
Murkowski, the ranking member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, has repeatedly questioned DOE officials on their flawed justification for continuing to collect the fee charged to utilities for disposal of waste from nuclear power plants despite DOE's work stoppage on Yucca Mountain and its failure to offer an alternative repository project.