Obama sounds death knell for nuclear power
Under the guise of cutting wasteful spending, President Obama is terminating support for the Yucca Mountain spent nuclear fuel repository in Nevada. While not unexpected, this development means that there will be no place to store nuclear waste, probably for decades, other than at temporary storage locations at each of the nation's nuclear power plants.
It seems disingenuous to suggest that canceling the Yucca Mountain project is going to help taxpayers, since the project is funded not by the taxpayer, but by the Nuclear Waste Fund. The Fund has about $30 Billion which is derived from an assessment on nuclear utilities based upon the amount of electricity generated. The cost is passed on to consumers.
This action will likely forestall the construction of new nuclear power plants which incorporate advanced safety and reliability features. These promising designs would add additional electric generating capacity without the huge carbon footprint of coal fired plants, which the Obama administration also opposes.
The President has acknowledged that nuclear power is -- and likely will remain -- an important source of electricity for many years to come and that how the Nation deals with the dangerous byproduct of nuclear reactors is a critical question that has yet to be resolved.The President, however, has made clear that the Nation needs a better solution than the proposed Yucca Mountain repository. Such a solution must be based on sound science and capable of securing broad support, including support from those who live in areas that might be affected by the solution. Accordingly, Secretary of Energy Chu has announced that he will stand up an expert, Blue Ribbon Commission to evaluate options and make recommendations to the Administration for developing a new plan for the back end of the fuel cycle.