Senate OKs Proos resolution urging safe, permanent nuclear spent fuel storage

Senator John Proos

Senator John Proos

Taxpayers have paid more than $41 billion into Nuclear Waste Fund

LANSING, Mich. — The Michigan Senate on Thursday approved Sen. John Proos’ resolution calling for the completion of federal facilities for safe storage of spent nuclear fuel or a refund of billions of dollars to ratepayers.

“Safe and reliable nuclear energy provides much of the nation’s power and can be a key component in helping us to meet our current and future energy demands and create good jobs,” said Proos, R-St. Joseph. “However, the fuel storage pools at our nuclear plants are at or near capacity.

“This is about sending a message to the federal government that it needs to live up to its responsibility to open a permanent repository for high-level nuclear waste or return the money they collected from ratepayers to build the site.”

Senate Concurrent Resolution 6, sponsored by Proos, calls on Congress to appropriate from the Nuclear Waste Fund the money necessary to establish a permanent repository for high-level nuclear waste or reimburse electric utility customers who paid into the fund if a permanent repository is not completed.

The fund’s balance is more than $41 billion and increases by about $750 million in direct payments each year.

In 1982, Congress passed the Nuclear Waste Policy Act requiring the federal government to follow a strict timeline for building a permanent repository for high-level radioactive waste from the nation’s nuclear power plants. According to the act, the repository should have started accepting waste by 1998.

In 2002, President Bush and Congress approved Yucca Mountain in Nevada as the site of a safe nuclear waste repository for the U.S.

“Michigan customers have paid more than $810 million for the construction of a permanent site, yet it’s been more than 30 years later and a permanent repository is still not open,” Proos said. “There is only so long we can continue to safely store waste at temporary sites. Simply put, the federal government needs to fulfill its legal obligation to open the facility or return the money to hardworking Michigan families.”

SCR 8 urges the U.S. Department of Energy and the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission to fulfill their obligation to establish a permanent repository for high-level nuclear waste.

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Editor’s note: Audio comments by Proos are available on the senator’s website at www.SenatorJohnProos.com. Click on “Audio” under the Media Center tab.