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Coalition to Senator Inhofe: Just Say No to "Take Title"

Earlier today, my colleague, Lisa Stiles-Shell, who also serves as the Director of the Alliance for Sound Nuclear Policy, sent a letter to U.S. Senator James Inhofe urging him to oppose the Spent Nuclear Fuel On-Site Storage Security Act of 2005:
This bill purports to “solve” the used nuclear fuel storage and management problem but it fails on all points. In effect, passage of this bill would reverse national policy, enacted by a bipartisan Congress in 2002, which mandates that DOE move fuel off site at the earliest opportunity to a deep geologic repository.

While there is consensus that our nation must develop advanced nuclear fuel recycling technologies to reduce the volume of high level waste and optimize the nuclear fuel cycle, such technologies do not obviate the need for a repository. Therefore, such a research and development program must not delay progress on the Yucca Mountain.

If enacted, this bill would ensure that used fuel remains on plant sites in 31 states indefinitely and leave resolution of the issue to future generations.

Furthermore, this bill:

Would not demonstrate progress in used fuel management that responsible environmental stewardship necessitates. As such, it would jeopardize nuclear industry plans to build new power plants that would maintain or increase nuclear energy’s contribution to carbon emission reduction.

Would allow money from the Nuclear Waste Fund to be used for continued storage on site, thereby ensuring that ratepayers will go on paying twice for the storage of used nuclear fuel.

Ignores the need to dispose of defense used nuclear fuel and other defense waste

Would add hundreds of millions of dollars to the cost of nuclear energy by mandating the premature movement of used fuel from fuel pools to dry cask storage.

The sponsors of S. 2099 claim their bill would make existing fuel storage pools safer, but the Nuclear Regulatory Commission describes used fuel pools as "robust structures constructed of very thick reinforced concrete walls with stainless steel liners." Fuel storage safety is thoroughly regulated at the Nation's nuclear plants. Clearly, the bill's objective is not to ensure fuel storage safety, which is not in doubt, but to make certain that the electricity ratepayer-financed long term fuel storage solution, the Yucca Mountain central repository, will never open. Passage of this bill would represent an unacceptable abdication of responsibility by the federal government and we urge you to oppose this legislation.
For Lisa's previous posts on the proposal, click here and here.

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