Nuclear, Waste Management & Decommissioning

Congress feels the heat over nuclear waste delays

Issue 7 and Volume 99.

Congress feels the heat over nuclear waste delays

Congressional leaders have promised swift, decisive legislative action to repair the federal government`s long-delayed program for disposing of used fuel from nuclear power plants. Sen. Frank Murkowski, R-Alaska, chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, said Congress must pass reform legislation because the U.S. Department of Energy is not prepared to take used fuel from nuclear power plants in 1998 as a 1982 federal law requires. “Some see the build-up of nuclear waste at plant sites as a way to shut down nuclear power. We`ve got a real problem in this country and the sooner we face up to it the better,” Murkowski said at the Nuclear Energy Assembly in May. William S. Lee, Duke Power Co. chairman emeritus, said national recognition is growing about the need for a temporary facility to hold spent fuel until a permanent repository is ready. “An alliance is forming on the nuclear waste issue,” Lee said. “If we don`t solve the interim storage problem, we`ll have storage at 75 nuclear power plant sites across the country.”