Economic development leader urges committee to reconsider Yucca Mountain

The absence of a clear plan to manage the nation’s spent nuclear fuel and defense wastes could leave South Carolina vulnerable to further exploitation as a long-term storage site, a local economic development leader told members of Congress Thursday.

 

“We continue to believe Yucca Mountain was – and is – the right answer for permanent nuclear waste disposal, and its completion should be pursued vigorously, especially for high-level defense waste,” said Rick McLeod, the executive director of the SRS Community Reuse Organization.

McLeod and others testified before the House Science, Space & Technology Subcommittee, which is evaluating recommendations from the President’s Blue Ribbon Commission on America’s Nuclear Future.

The Blue Ribbon Committee was formed after the Obama administration canceled the Yucca Mountain project that was to become a permanent underground repository. Although the committee concluded the U.S. still needs deep, geologic storage, its members made no mention of resurrecting Yucca Mountain. “We consider this to be the ‘missing recommendation,’ ” McLeod said.

South Carolina, with 3,900 metric tons of spent fuel at multiple storage sites, ranks third in the nation. It is also home to Savannah River Site and its high level defense wastes.

McLeod urged subcommittee members to consider high-level defense wastes separately from spent nuclear fuel.

“The waste is different. The quantity is different. The number of locations affected is different. The potential for future use is different,” he said.

Most importantly, he added, the Yucca Mountain decision makes it likely that defense wastes at SRS will remain there indefinitely, turning South Carolina into a “de facto Yucca Mountain” in which SRS waste is left without a disposition path.

He also urged officials to listen to the scientists, not the politicians, when making critical nuclear waste decisions.

“We continue to urge the Department of Energy to reconsider its position and allow science and engineering – not politics – to establish the most appropriate means for disposal of high-level defense nuclear waste.”

GOP presidential candidates and S.C. Republicans divided over nuclear waste storage issue
Yucca Mountain report finds SRS is better choice for waste reprocessing
Washington state, S.C. file suit on Yucca plans
Nuclear waste management program deemed ineffective in draft report
SCE&G to build dry cask storage units for waste
House OKs more money for Yucca Mountain review
Court refuses Yucca Mountain case
Recycling center is decades away
Lead scientist at NRC blasts boss over nuke dump
Nuclear waste sites to stay after project's end
Spent nuclear fuel puts Georgia, S. Carolina in top 10
Panel backs new storage site for nuclear waste
Report seeks restart of Yucca Mountain project
Nuke agency under fire for confusion over Yucca
Appeals court to hear Yucca arguments
Disposal of spent fuel still a worry
South Carolina lawmakers oppose H Canyon cuts
Court sets date in Yucca nuke dump suit
Don't make SRS nuke dump, panel told
Ship nuke waste to Yucca, Southern Co. says
STORED SPENT NUCLEAR FUEL

1. Illinois: 8,440

2. Pennsylvania: 5,850

3. South Carolina: 3,900

4.(tie) New York: 3,450

4 (tie). North Carolina: 3,450

5. Alabama: 2,990

6. Florida: 2,810

7. Michigan: 2,540

8. Georgia: 2,490

9. New Jersey: 2,480

10. Virginia: 2,400

Source: Nuclear Energy Institute (amounts are in metric tons)

Hearing agenda and background details on U.S. nuclear issues
Topics:
 

More