Senate approves Proos’ resolution urging safe, permanent nuclear spent fuel storage

LANSING—The Michigan Senate has approved a resolution sponsored by Sen. John Proos calling on the U.S. Department of Energy and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to complete facilities for safely spent nuclear fuel.

“We are urging the federal government to live up to its responsibility to establish a permanent repository for high-level nuclear waste,” said Proos, R-St. Joseph. “30 years and $15 billion since the federal government said it would build a nuclear spent fuel storage site, the Yucca Mountain facility in Nevada is still not operational.

“Fuel storage pools at the nation’s 65 nuclear plants are at or near capacity. We need a safe, permanent waste storage site that is not on the shores of Lake Michigan.”

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. 

Proos said that Michigan customers have contributed more than $763 million toward the construction of a permanent nuclear waste storage facility, and each year the federal Nuclear Waste Fund balance increases by about $750 million in direct taxpayer payments.

“In 2011, safe and reliable nuclear energy provided more than 19 percent of the nation’s electricity and 22 percent of Michigan’s power,” said Proos, vice chair of the Senate Energy and Technology Committee. “Nuclear energy can be a key component in helping us to meet our current and future energy demands and create good jobs. By failing to meet its obligations for storing spent nuclear fuel, the federal government is hurting job creation by impeding efforts to construct new power plants that provide reliable energy.”

Senate Concurrent Resolution 5 has been sent to the House for consideration. 


Editor’s Note – Audio comments by Sen. Proos are available on the senator’s webpage at Click on “Podcasts.”