The Senate’s longtime champion of nuclear energy said today that other communities, not just Nevada’s Yucca Mountain, should be considered for storing the nation’s nuclear waste.We'll see where this goes.
New Mexico Republican Sen. Pete Domenici’s comments this morning reflect Washington’s deep frustration over the Department of Energy’s endless delays at Yucca Mountain. The nuclear industry has quietly been soliciting other communities as potential hosts for a repository, and Domenici said he would introduce legislation that would free up money from the Yucca Mountain account to do just that. Doing so would represent a major policy shift on Yucca. The multi-billion-dollar Yucca fund is considered sacred, having been built from fees collected from ratepayers in states with nuclear energy....
Domenici’s comments came as both Senate and House appropriators this week are considering Energy’s budget requests for the coming year. The department promises to meet its summer deadline for submitting the long-awaited license for the waste dump at Yucca.
In his comments, Domenici said he no longer believes focusing solely on a permanent repository in Nevada is the way to go, fearing the Yucca only strategy that does not include efforts to recycle waste is “deeply flawed.” “I believe this path will prove to be the highest cost solution and it fails to take advantage of recycling,” Domenici said. “We should pursue a comprehensive waste strategy led by an approach to recycle spent nuclear fuel with the remaining waste to be put in either Yucca Mountain or another suitable site such as deep salt formations,” such as a site in New Mexico that now stores less toxic waste.
Is the nation beginning to head a new direction on how to manage its used nuclear fuel? Here's the direction Senator Domenici thinks we should go: