PROTECT AFFORDABLE ELECTRICITY COSTS: TELL CONGRESS TO MANAGE NUCLEAR WASTE
Consumer Energy Alliance
February 16, 2012
Nuclear energy is one of the most affordable, reliable and cleanest forms of electricity, supplying about 20 percent of America’s electricity. However, the management of nuclear waste has become an increasingly costly process because the federal government has completely abdicated its responsibility to provide long-term storage. American consumers and nuclear utilities have paid over $30 billion into a Nuclear Waste Trust Fund, which was created by Congress in 1982 to fund the construction and operation of a long-term storage facility. Yet, nearly 30 years later, the federal government has failed to advance a solution. Therefore, utilities have resorted to storing the waste at existing reactors at the costs of millions of dollars a year – costs that are passed on to ratepayers.
The Blue Ribbon Commission on America’s Nuclear Future has published a report recommending that the federal government develop and build an interim storage facility to store the waste at one or more underground sites until a long-term storage facility is online. These interim storage facilities could be ready within five years, whereas a long-term solution to dispose of the waste may be decades away.
Tell your Congressman to support safe storage of nuclear waste and ease the burden on America’s ratepayers.
TAKE ACTION NOW: Sign the letter below and we’ll make sure it reaches your representatives in the U.S. Congress.
Dear Congressman :I strongly urge you and your colleagues to adopt the recommendations reached by the Blue Ribbon Commission on America’s Nuclear Future regarding the safe storage and disposal of used nuclear fuel, specifically with regards to creating a consolidated interim storage facility. For decades, utilities and consumers across the nation have been shackled by the costs of maintaining its nuclear waste on existing reactor sites while continuing to pay $750 million annually into the Nuclear Waste Fund.In the Commission’s final report, it rightfully identifies interim storage in one or more underground facilities as a sound solution to relieve utilities from the expense of onsite waste management while the government determines a long-term disposal plan. Moreover, I support the Commission’s recommendations to utilize resources from the Nuclear Waste Fund to pay for these interim storage facilities and to establish a corporate-style organization that would be charged with overseeing this process. For decades, ratepayers like me have spent approximately $27 billion in waste management fees without any resolution. Even worse, long-term disposal of this waste is likely decades away from realization. Fortunately, interim storage will provide a means of removing waste from active and decommissioned facilities across 35 states in about five to ten years. Ratepayers must no longer be burdened by the rising costs of onsite waste management when reasonable, cost-effective solutions for federal management of this waste could be realized in the next few years.Nuclear energy is an important part of America’s solution for energy security and affordability. American nuclear facilities are the most strongly regulated in the world, and the industry consistently exceeds safety standards and continues to advance new safety practices. Interim storage will be accomplished in a safe, responsible and transparent manner. Further, sites for the facilities will be based on the consent of the local government. In fact, a prospective site in New Mexico has already welcomed the new jobs and revenue that the storage facility with generate for the local community. We can move nuclear fuel safely to a remote location in a volunteer community, and enable the country to begin solving this problem.As my Congressman, I urge you to work expeditiously to ensure Congress authorizes consolidated interim storage sites, establishes a new waste management organization, and allows access to the waste management fees currently collected from utilities and ratepayers.I appreciate your attention to these matters, and I look forward to seeing how you and your colleagues address these issues.Sincerely,