U.S. Rep. John Spratt (D-SC) issued the following statement today after the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) denied the Obama Administration's request to withdraw an application to establish a national nuclear waste depository at Yucca Mountain.
"The ruling today confirms the policy established by Congress on Yucca Mountain, and I will continue fighting here on Capitol Hill to see that the program is given the resources needed to fully defend the license application.
"Currently, South Carolina is storing 37 million gallons of liquid waste at the Savannah River Site, as well as tons of used fuel rods at nuclear plants across the state that are intended to be shipped to Yucca Mountain. Should Yucca Mountain not be opened, South Carolina would be stuck with this waste indefinitely.
"The ruling by the Atomic Safety and Licensing Board within the NRC states, "The NWPA (Nuclear Waste Policy Act) does not give the (Energy) Secretary the discretion to substitute his policy for the one established by Congress in the NWPA that, at this point, mandates progress toward a merits decision by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission on the construction permit.'
"Over the past three years, as chairman of both the Budget Committee and the House Caucus on Nuclear Energy, I have held hearings and written letters to the Administration demonstrating my support for the construction of Yucca Mountain. This ruling confirms what I have been saying for a long time.
"I have highlighted the negative impact that abandoning the project would have on the future of nuclear power, as well as our budget. We are a long way from resolving the issue, but this a step forward. For my part, I plan to schedule a Budget Committee hearing soon to discuss the future of the project and its impact on the bottom line of the budget."