Speaking on the floor of the House of Representatives yesterday evening, Rep. Greg Walden (R-Hood River) called for action to clean up nuclear waste that is sitting idle in communities across the country. During his speech, Walden stressed the importance of cleaning up the Hanford Site for Oregon and communities along the Columbia River, and finding a permanent geologic repository for that nuclear waste.
“Over 35 years ago, we in Congress made a commitment to communities throughout the country which host spent nuclear fuel and nuclear waste. We assigned the Department of Energy the responsibility to permanently dispose of the hazardous material by 1998,” Walden said. “Many of those communities, like the Tri-Cities co-located with DOE’s Hanford Site just up the Columbia River from where I live and the people I represent, we have been DOE’s partners to help win World War II, maintain a nuclear weapons deterrent, and power our fleet of nuclear submarines and aircraft carriers.
“Additionally, electricity consumers in many other communities have paid the federal government over forty billion dollars to develop, license, construct and operate a nuclear waste repository, pursuant to the Nuclear Waste Policy Act. Yet, ratepayers have little to see for their investment because political science has deprived the public of the actual science to prove that nuclear waste can be safely permanently disposed.”
Walden is pushing to clean up spent nuclear fuel that is sitting idle in 121 communities across 39 states throughout the country, including at the Hanford Site. Walden’s Energy and Commerce Committee passed the Nuclear Waste Policy Amendments Act (H.R. 3053), by a vote of 49-4 in June of 2017.
This legislation provides practical reforms to the nation’s nuclear waste management policy, and reinstates Yucca Mountain as the cornerstone of the country’s nuclear waste disposal. During his floor speech, Walden touted the Nuclear Waste Policy Amendments Act as a concrete solution to help clean up spent nuclear fuel.
“This legislation makes targeted reforms to the Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1982 to set the federal government up to finally keep its promise,” said Walden. “This nuclear waste challenge has vexed policy makers for generations. We – this Congress – have the chance now in a bipartisan way to successfully build a durable solution and I look forward to working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to achieve this goal.”