October 31, 2007
Washington D.C.- U.S. Senator Harry Reid testified before the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works’ oversight hearing on the proposed
“This was a great day for
Reid called into question the integrity of the licensing process and raised questions about the security of the proposed dump. Reid also discussed the importance of the Federal Accountability for Nuclear Waste Storage Act. The legislation, introduced by Reid and John Ensign earlier this year, calls for nuclear waste to be safely stored at the facilities where it is produced, rather than shipping it thousands of miles across the country to
Later this afternoon Reid is scheduled to hold a press conference with Ensign and Nevada Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto to discuss the hearing, which will investigate the licensing process for the proposed
Reid’s remarks, as prepared for delivery, are below.
Oversight Hearing on the
I want to thank the Chair, the Ranking Member and other members of the Committee and for the opportunity to present testimony on this important issue to the State of
GAO has reported exhaustively on quality assurance failures with the research done at the site - science has been manipulated, secret meetings have been held without public oversight or participation, and the timeline and designs are ever-changing without any repercussions for the Department of Energy. And don’t forget that EPA has no plans to release its radiation standard before the Department of Energy files its license application, an environmental standard upon which the success of the entire license application rests.
Now that the license application process is upon us and we ready for what many believe will be the final battle against this dump, Nevadans are again left shaking their heads in dismay as they see that the decks are again stacked against them. The timeline to review the application has been unrealistically compressed to 3 years, even though the NRC took 8 years to license the proposed interim storage facility in
Think about that. Essentially, this computer model is the license application. But DOE will not let anybody access it - not the State of
I’d like someone here to explain to me how the Department of Energy can write a computer modeling program that can prove it can meet an EPA radiation standard that doesn’t exist. I don’t care how many servers or processors that the Department of Energy uses in its complicated computer assessment of the
As many of my colleagues will remember, EPA already published an earlier version of the radiation standard in 2001. And in that standard, EPA went too far to accommodate the Department of Energy’s desire to build a waste dump at
The EPA wrote a newly proposed draft in 2005 – two years ago - which has yet to be finalized. Where is it? It is obvious to me that the EPA is having trouble writing a final radiation standard that can meet current law without disqualifying
Instead of sticking to the commitment that
How are we to secure the waste in the interim? We leave it on-site in dry cask storage, where it is already safely and securely stored at most nuclear plant sites and where the experts and the nuclear industry have demonstrated that it will continue to be safely stored for decades.
Senators Ensign and Bennett joined me in introducing the Federal Accountability for Nuclear Waste Storage Act earlier this year. This bill is a road map and a timeline for safely securing our spent nuclear fuel for one to two hundred years, giving us time to find a safe, scientific long-term solution to this national security issue.
Thank you again Chairman Boxer for holding this important hearing. The people of
RenoBruce R. Thompson
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