Yucca Mountain and Jobs

Floor Speech

By:  John Shimkus
Date: March 20, 2013
Location: Washington, DC

Mr. SHIMKUS. Mr. Speaker, I rise once again today in support of Yucca Mountain in Nye County, Nevada, which, by law, is designated as the site for a permanent geological repository for our Nation's spent nuclear fuel.

Last year, the President's Blue Ribbon Commission on America's Nuclear Future issued a report, but barred even evaluating the merits of Yucca Mountain, despite the fact that it has been approved on a bipartisan basis by Congress and signed into law by the President, and actually reaffirmed by signing the law in 2002. The initial law was passed in 1982, and the law was amended in 1987, which, in a bipartisan manner, passed through both Chambers, signed by different Presidents, established that Yucca Mountain would be the repository for our nuclear spent fuel.

What the Blue Ribbon Commission did say was any host community should expect incentives. That commitment is no different from Nevada when it comes to Yucca Mountain. And good news: the local county, Nye County, Nevada, is consenting and ready to negotiate with the Department of Energy.

In advance of Yucca Mountain even receiving its first delivery, we will work with the State, Nye County, and surrounding communities to provide incentives to benefit the people of Nevada and their communities. We will address infrastructure needs, provide additional ground water monitoring, and build rail spurs, providing benefits outside of the Yucca Mountain project.

As we look to make nuclear processing viable in the future, we can establish research dollars to universities in the State to be leaders in this field, and we will work to develop these and other ideas from State and local leaders to best fit their needs.

This will mean thousands of direct or indirect jobs across the State of Nevada. Before any of these incentives are even discussed, we know from DOE in the past that the project would yield over 2,500 direct jobs on its own for more than 25 years under the current permit. Even after 50 years, as the project winds down, there would still be more than 500 direct jobs.

Construction of a rail spur could require an additional 1,000 workers and 300 permanent jobs for decades to come. All told, with indirect jobs and the project alone, conservative estimates project 7,000 new jobs in Nevada, not even counting those associated with other incentives we in Congress are prepared to work with the State and local communities to pursue.

Mr. Speaker, we need to move forward on finishing the licensing application on Yucca Mountain, as required by law. Let the science speak for itself that says Yucca Mountain meets a million-year safety standard so it can serve as a national asset that develops thousands of badly needed jobs in Nevada's struggling economy.

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