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Energy

Commission Offers Nuclear Waste Plan

by Glenn Hess
May 23, 2011 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 89, ISSUE 21

A panel convened by the White House is recommending that the U.S. set up one or more aboveground storage sites where radioactive waste from nuclear power plants would be held while a plan for permanent disposal is developed. About 65,000 metric tons of radioactive uranium rods are currently stored at 76 locations in 35 states. The Department of Energy’s Blue Ribbon Commission on America’s Nuclear Future was formed last year to offer advice on how to deal with spent nuclear fuel in the wake of the Administration’s decision in 2009 to cancel plans for a permanent repository at Yucca Mountain in Nevada. The 15-member panel did not propose a site for interim waste storage. The commission did suggest the creation of an independent agency to select a location and construct a facility to permanently store nuclear waste. Republicans in the House of Representatives rejected the commission’s recommendations, saying it makes no sense to change plans after the U.S. has spent billions of dollars on the now-shuttered Yucca Mountain site. “The Obama Administration’s blue ribbon panel is nothing short of a smoke screen—we already have a long-term, visionary plan for permanent storage in Yucca Mountain,” says House Energy & Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.).

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