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House Passes Historic Nuclear Waste Storage Legislation

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Washington, May 10, 2018 | Maura Gillespie ((202) 225-3635) | comments
Today, Congressman Adam Kinzinger (IL-16) spoke on the House Floor in support of H.R. 3053, the Nuclear Waste Policy Amendments Act (NWPAA).
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Washington, DC – Today, Congressman Adam Kinzinger (IL-16) spoke on the House Floor in support of H.R. 3053, the Nuclear Waste Policy Amendments Act (NWPAA). This bipartisan bill provides practical reforms to the country’s nuclear waste management policy and ensures that the federal government permanently disposes of spent nuclear fuel and high-level defense waste.

The Nuclear Waste Policy Act (NWPA) was enacted in 1982 and established a comprehensive nuclear waste strategy and assigned responsibility to the Department of Energy (DOE) to permanently dispose of used fuel. In 2002, Congress and the President approved Yucca Mountain as a safe storage site for these nuclear materials. Congressman Kinzinger spoke about the importance of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s determination on Yucca Mountain in June, when the House Energy and Commerce Committee introduced H.R. 3053 to the full House.

This measure, H.R. 3053, provides practical reforms to help facilitate safe transportation and storage of nuclear waste, as well as streamline the licensing and regulatory review process. The NWPAA measure was voted on today and passed with strong bipartisan support, with a vote of 340-72.

Congressman Kinzinger released the following statement after the measure passed the House:

“Today the House took a common-sense step forward on our decades long commitments to safely storing spent nuclear fuel. In Illinois, we know the incredible value of nuclear power to our environment, economy, and energy reliability – but we can’t expect our local nuclear plants, that are focused on producing safe, reliable electricity, to become de facto storage sites.

“In 1982, the government made a commitment – one that communities home to these plants like Dresden, LaSalle, Byron, and Braidwood are relying on – and today we got that much closer to fulfilling our promise. I’m especially pleased this NWPAA bill had such a strong bipartisan show of support and I hope my colleagues in the Senate will act quickly on this important matter.” 

The Congressman’s floor speech can be found on his YouTube page, and his remarks as written can be found transcribed below:

“Mr. Speaker, I rise today in strong support of the Nuclear Waste Policy Amendments Act, which I am proud to cosponsor.

“My district is home to four nuclear power plants and I’ve seen firsthand the hard work and dedication of the men and women who work there. These plants not only provide clean, reliable power, but also create good jobs and strengthen our communities.

“In 1982, the government made a commitment to these communities. Congress and the President approved Yucca Mountain over 15 years ago. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission concluded it can safely store spent fuel for one million years.

“In Illinois alone, ratepayers have contributed over $3 billion to the Nuclear Waste Fund and Illinois houses more spent fuel than any other state. 

“Today is about following through on those commitments. We must reassure communities like LaSalle and Byron, who put their trust in the government, that they can continue to make clean, reliable nuclear power as well as have a safe place to store waste.

“I thank my friend and Illinois Colleague, John Shimkus, for being a tireless advocate for making good on this commitment. I urge passage, and with that, I yield back.”

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Tags: Energy

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