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Yucca Moutain

Floor Speech

Location: Unknown

Mr. SHIMKUS. Mr. Speaker, I come back to the floor again--this is my 13th time, really--doing a tour of the United States highlighting the locations where we currently store high-level nuclear waste in this country.

With the end of this location, I will have placed in the Record the position of our U.S. Senators in each one of these States on where they stand on either keeping high-level nuclear waste in their State at their location or helping us move to a centralized repository at Yucca Mountain in the desert in Nevada.

So let's go to the location. Here's Yucca Mountain, which is, by law, the site, based upon the 1982 Nuclear Waste Policy Act and the amendments passed in 1987. So I'm comparing it to a place in Virginia very close by, the North Anna Nuclear Generating Station on North Anna Lake, which is a recreational lake that many people in Virginia know.

Yucca Mountain right now has currently no nuclear waste on site. What about North Anna? North Anna has 1,200 metric tons of uranium, spent nuclear fuel, on site.

If we had nuclear waste in Yucca Mountain, where would it be? It would be stored 1,000 feet underground. Where is the nuclear waste stored at North Anna? It's stored above the ground in pools and in casks.

If it was at Yucca Mountain, as designed by law, where would it be in comparison to the groundwater? Well, it would be a thousand feet above the water table because Yucca Mountain is in a desert. What about North Anna? Well, it is 53 feet above the groundwater. And as you can see from the photo, it's right next to a major lake in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

If the waste was at Yucca Mountain, how far would it be from the largest body of water in the area? It would be 100 miles from the Colorado River. Again, from the photo, you see that North Anna is right next to the lake.

So let's look at the Senators from the Commonwealth of Virginia, and in their time serving, what's their position on where the nuclear waste should be? Should it stay in the Commonwealth of Virginia or should it move to the desert underneath a mountain?

Well, let's start with Senator Webb, who's not running for reelection. He's been in the Chamber now 5 1/2 years. No stated position. It's kind of hard to believe you can be a U.S. Senator who has nuclear waste on site and does not have a stated position on whether you want nuclear waste stored right next to a recreational lake in your State or moved underneath a mountain in the desert. Senator Warner came 2 years after Senator Webb. He's been there 4 years. No stated position.

Why is this concerning? Well, we go to the total tally of our 100 U.S. Senators based on either votes taken in the Senate or public statements rendered, and this is what we have as of today. Remember, I've come to the floor 13 different times identifying nuclear waste storage facilities all around the country. Most of the time they're generating stations. Sometimes they're Department of Defense waste sites like Hanford, Washington, which is the first place that I talked about.

Based upon our tally, we have 55 votes for a high-level nuclear waste central repository at Yucca Mountain. We have 22 individuals--we noticed two today--who have never taken a position whether the high-level nuclear waste should be in their State, in their locality, or in the desert underneath a mountain. We also have 23 that have cast votes or made statements against that.

Now, why is this tally important? Well, it only takes 60 votes to move a piece of legislation in the U.S. Senate, cloture debate based upon a filibuster than a simple majority vote. So the question is: When will these 22 Senators at least make some position statement on the high-level nuclear waste repository?

Now, there are four other Senators that I've included in this--two from Alaska, two from Hawaii. They have no nuclear waste in their State. But Senator Begich from Alaska has no stated position. Senator Murkowski voted for the high-level nuclear waste storage site. She's also from Alaska. Senator Akaka voted ``no'' in a 2002 vote. Senator Inouye voted ``no'' in a 2002 vote. So that finishes the culmination of all the Senators.

Based upon the problem in Japan with Fukushima Daiichi and the issue of high-level nuclear waste, isn't it about time we stop this administration's attack and move to Yucca Mountain?

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