NEC Urges Secretary of Energy to Act on Nuclear Waste Recommendations

Business group endorses several recommendations of nuclear commission

BOSTON – The New England Council, the nation’s oldest regional business association, is urging the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to adopt several of the recommendations recently put forth by the Blue Ribbon Commission on America’s Nuclear Future (BRC).  In a letter to Secretary of Energy Steven Chu, the Council suggests that DOE should adopt three of the BRC’s recommendations that it believes will help solve the challenge of how to store spent nuclear fuel from nuclear energy facilities.

“The New England Council has long supported nuclear energy as a reliable, affordable and emission-free energy source for our region,” said NEC President & CEO James Brett.  “However the challenge has always been how to safely store spent nuclear fuel.  The Blue Ribbon Commission has put forth several very thoughtful and effective solutions, and we hope that the Department of Energy will implement them.”

President Barack Obama put on hold plans for a federal nuclear waste depository at Yucca Mountain in Nevada—plans that had been underway since 1987–and created the BRC.  The Commission was charged with reviewing federal policy on spent nuclear fuel management and disposal and to make recommendations for a new plan to address these issues.  After an extensive two-year review process that involved public hearings and the collection of comments from stakeholders across the United States, the BRC submitted a report to the Secretary of Energy on January 26, 2012, offering eight recommendations to develop a new strategy to manage nuclear waste.  In its letter to Secretary Chu, The New England Council endorses the BRC’s recommendations, and highlights three in particular that it believes are deserving of immediate attention:

  • The creation of a new organization to implement the federal government’s waste management program;
  • Allowing access to utility waste disposal fees for their intended purpose; and
  • Making efforts to develop one or more consolidated storage facilities.

While The New England Council has long supported the Yucca Mountain site as the most appropriate federal depository for nuclear waste, the Council believes that these three actions in particular would represent a positive step forward in solving the challenge of where and how to store our nation’s spent nuclear fuel now that the Administration has decided not to move forward with the Yucca Mountain facility.

The Council has weighed in to express its support for the Yucca Mountain site and to advocate for the concerns of the New England Business Community at several stages of the BRC’s review.  In August 2010, the Council submitted detailed testimony to the Blue Ribbon Commission outlining its concerns about abandoning the Yucca Mountain site.  More recently, the Council submitted feedback on the BRC’s draft report in October 2011.

For more information on The New England Council’s work on energy issues, please visit the Energy & Environment page on our website.

The New England Council, the country’s oldest regional business organization, is an alliance of businesses, academic and health institutions, and public and private organizations throughout New England formed to promote economic growth and a high quality of life in the region.  The Council is dedicated to identifying and supporting federal public policies and articulating the voice of its membership regionally and nationally on important issues facing New England.  The NEC is also committed to working with public and private sector leaders across the region and in Washington through educational programs and forums for information exchange.  For more information, please visit: www.newenglandcouncil.com.

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