Bipartisan Group Plans Overhaul For Radioactive Waste Disposal

By Anna King

RICHLAND, Wash. - A bipartisan group of senior senators is drafting a bill to overhaul the U.S. nuclear-waste program. They’re aiming to find a permanent home for the nation’s radioactive waste. The group includes Oregon’s Democratic Senator Ron Wyden.

Wyden is the new chair of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. The radioactive waste working group also includes Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski, Senator Dianne Feinstein of California and Lamar Alexander of Tennessee. They’re all high-ranking members of both parties who hold key positions on committees that deal with energy issues. They hope to draft legislation that would find a temporary and a long-term repository for the storage of the nation’s hazardous nuclear waste. Wyden doesn’t favor reviving Nevada’s Yucca Mountain, according to a Wyden spokesman. That’s the massive and politically-wrought project scrapped by the Obama administration.
Keith Chu, with Wyden’s office, says the senator opposes any Department of Energy nuclear reservation – such as Hanford in southeast Washington – becoming a permanent waste disposal site. Wyden plans to pen a draft bill within a month.

Copyright 2013 Northwest Public Radio

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