Proos and Nesbitt urge safe, permanent nuclear spent fuel storage

LANSING – State Sen. John Proos and state Rep. Aric Nesbitt introduced resolutions today calling on the U.S. Department of Energy and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to complete facilities for safely spent nuclear fuel.

“Safe and reliable nuclear energy must be a key part of any comprehensive strategy to meet the energy demands of our future economy,” said Proos, R-St. Joseph.  “If we take the proper precautions, nuclear power is one of the most efficient and common sense energy sources available. For that reason, we need a permanent place to store spent nuclear fuel so we can protect the shores of Lake Michigan and our citizens.”

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.  Twenty-eight years later, the planned Yucca Mountain waste storage site in Nevada is still not operational.

Proos said that although Michigan customers have contributed more than $763 million toward the construction of permanent nuclear waste storage facility, there are serious concerns that the federal government is not complying with timetables set forth in federal law.

“Yucca Mountain is long overdue.  Michigan families have paid more than three-quarters of a billion dollars to construct a secure facility to store spent fuel,” said Nesbitt, R-Lawton.  “The decision not to complete this facility is one of the worst environmental and security decisions made this century.  Nuclear energy is a clean and efficient way to grow our economy and provide energy security for our nation.”

Nesbitt added: “Michigan’s ratepayers continue to pay into the system to create a safe, permanent storage facility for spent fuel.  America’s challenge in the 21st century is energy security, and nuclear energy is a cornerstone of a secure future for Michigan families.”

Senate Concurrent Resolution 7 has been referred to the Senate Energy and Technology Committee, which Proos serves as vice chair.  House Concurrent Resolution 4 has been referred to the House Energy and Technology Committee, which Nesbitt is a member.