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Funds for nuclear waste reprocessing are cut

May 22, 2006 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 84, Issue 21

Credit: DOE Photo
Credit: DOE Photo

Legislation cleared by the House Appropriations Committee last week cuts funding for the Administration's proposed Global Nuclear Energy Partnership (GNEP) from $250 million to $120 million. Committee Democrats and Republicans alike attributed the cuts to doubts and a lack of specifics about the Administration's plan to reprocess spent nuclear fuel rods. But members spoke favorably of the concept of reprocessing spent fuel and its potential to reduce waste and offer an alternative to the long-delayed Yucca Mountain underground waste repository (shown). The committee fully funded the Administration's request for Yucca Mountain and set aside $30 million for an interim waste storage facility, which had not been sought by the Administration. If the GNEP cuts survive a full House vote, a conflict will likely result with the Senate, where Sen. Pete V. Domenici (R-N.M.), chairman of the Senate Appropriations subcommittee with energy oversight, is urging an increase in funding for GNEP and nuclear recycling, as well as a decrease in funding for Yucca Mountain. In other energy-related areas, the appropriation fully funds the Department of Energy's Office of Science and provides an extra $30 million to cover House earmarks, so they do not cut into department research programs.


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