Statement by Congressman Doc Hastings on President Obama’s Action to Permanently Abandon Yucca Mountain
Mar 3, 2010 -
“As recently as February 16th, President Obama signaled a ‘commitment to jumpstarting the nation’s nuclear power industry.’ Not only does today’s action by the Administration fly in the face of this commitment, it also means that high-level defense nuclear waste at Hanford will remain in our state longer.
“While Congress may be limited by the Administration’s decision to reprogram $115 million and put it towards termination of Yucca Mountain, I am committed to pursuing any and all legislative options that will ensure that Yucca mountain remains viable and is not sacrificed for election year politics.
“Washington is home to more of the federal government’s defense nuclear waste than any other state and that waste is slated to be shipped out of our state to Yucca Mountain for permanent storage. Here at Hanford, the Waste Treatment Plant and the glass it will produce have been designed to meet standards that are specific to the Yucca Mountain repository. Taking Yucca Mountain off the table raises real questions about potential impacts on the Waste Treatment Plant and the cost of the additional interim storage that will be required. These are questions that deserve to be fully and publically answered before any irreversible action is taken.
“I have repeatedly asked the Administration to outline the scientific reasons why Yucca Mountain should no longer be our national repository. The absence of a response is just further indication that this reckless decision is based purely on a political desire to help an embattled Senate Democrat Leader.
“Rather than moving Yucca Mountain forward as called for under the law, the Obama Administration has wasted the past year dodging questions, stalling and naming members to a duplicative commission through a closed-door process.
“Decades and billions of dollars have already been spent on scientific studies to determine the best solution for spent nuclear fuel and defense wastes. After narrowing it down to Yucca Mountain, Hanford and Deaf Smith County in Texas a determination was made and the licensing process for Yucca Mountain moved forward.
“A unilateral decision to abandon Yucca Mountain without any justification and blocking it from ever being considered in the future is simply indefensible. Under the law, Yucca Mountain remains the national repository. No Administration is above the law and I fully support Attorney General McKenna’s legal action to intervene.”