Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Congressman Matheson Wants Post Yucca Waste Panel

The Center disagrees with President Obama's elimination of budgetary funding for Yucca Mountain. Energy Secretary Stephen Chu has been telling Congress that the Yucca option is off the table and better solutions are needed. The Center disagrees with Secretary Chu on this issue too. Now it is being publicized that Utah Representative Jim Matheson is looking to study other options for dealing with radioactive waste.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and John Ensign (R-NV) are pushing for a blue-ribbon panel to find alternatives for managing nuclear waste. Congressman Matheson, who also backs such a panel, believes money saved by halting Yucca can shift toward analyzing options for what to do with the waste. Congressman Matheson has raised the idea of reprocessing the waste in a way that reduces the amount of material.

We agree with Congressman Matheson on reprocessing. We also have a suggestion for him: take the nuclear function out of the Department of Energy and place it in another, newly created agency: Nuclear Waste Management Agency (NWMA). Of course, the best place for monitored storage, retrieval and reprocessing is at Yucca Mountain. (The Salt Lake Tribune, 3/17/09)

Congressman Matheson is pictured below (center) in 1983 at a home weatherization project in Washington, D.C. with Center president Norris McDonald (left)and National Wildlife Federation Legislative Director Jim Lyon (right) when they all worked at the Environmental Policy Center (now Friends of the Earth).

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