To Advertise On Our Website Click Here

Energy Daily Monday, April 3, by Jeff Beattie: Senate nuke waste hearing scotched after kerfuffle over NEI policy paper

The day after a surprise dustup between nuclear industry officials and three senators sponsoring nuclear waste legislation, Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Chairman Lisa Murkowski Friday announced the cancellation of Tuesday’s planned hearing to discuss proposed nuclear waste legislation.

A spokesman for Murkowski cited a compressed workload and three days of lengthy deliberations last week on comprehensive energy legislation as a factor in the cancellation of the hearing, and he suggested it would be rescheduled.

However, the cancellation came one day after what sources describe as a dispute between the Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI) and three sponsors of the bill (S.854) that was to be discussed Tuesday, including Murkowski (R-Alaska).

Sources say Murkowski, Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) were taken aback by “principles” for new nuclear waste legislation recently circulated by NEI, which would bar developing a central nuclear waste storage facility until the Nuclear Regulatory Commission has decided whether to license the permanent Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository.

That clashes with S.854—also sponsored by Sen Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.)—which aims to speed development of a centralized interim storage site for the nation’s nuclear waste. While the bill would allow simultaneous development of the storage and Yucca facilities, NEI’s plan could severely delay storage facilities by first requiring a licensing decision on the controversial Yucca project.

Sources say Murkowski and Alexander met Thursday with NEI President and Chief Executive Officer Marvin Fertel to discuss their unhappiness with NEI’s paper linking startup of a storage project with a Yucca license decision.

While declining to link the disagreement to Tuesday’s hearing cancellation, the Murkowski spokesman said the chairman was “disappointed in the change in policy and let NEI know that that she remains commit ted to moving to consolidated storage on a parallel track with permanent storage.”

While NEI has always supported Yucca, it appears to be taking a more aggressive stance in favor of the project because of the coming 2016 departure of Democratic Leader Harry Red (Nev.) and President Barack Obama, who both have tried to kill Yucca.

Copyright Energy Daily

Reprinted with Permission

Comments are closed.