Dear Speaker Ryan and Leaders McConnell, Pelosi, and Schumer:
We are a broad coalition of labor unions, state public service commissioners, clean energy organizations, and energy trade associations, and we urge immediate congressional action to revitalize the federal used nuclear fuel program.
Another year without progress on the Yucca Mountain repository license application and consolidated interim storage is untenable. It is time for the federal government to meet its statutory and contractual obligations. Utilities and their electricity customers have done their part. They have paid more than $40 billion into the Nuclear Waste Fund. Meanwhile, taxpayers have been saddled with the federal government’s inaction, with more than $7 billion in damages having already been paid from the Judgment Fund and billions more in liability continuing to mount.
The nuclear energy industry is a powerful engine for job creation. America’s nuclear power plants directly employ nearly 100,000 people in high-quality, long-term jobs. This number climbs to 475,000 when you include secondary jobs. Yet the lack of a strong used fuel management program has stymied public support of nuclear power for the existing fleet as well as advanced reactors currently under development. This is unfortunate as the overwhelming scientific evidence clearly demonstrates that used nuclear fuel can be stored, transported, and disposed of safely.
Now is the time to end the stalemate, and for the House and Senate to work in a bipartisan manner to place the federal government on a path to fulfill its responsibilities and to unburden taxpayers of the ever-mounting liability by establishing a durable program for managing used nuclear fuel.
American Nuclear Society
American Public Power Association
Decommissioning Plant Coalition
Edison Electric Institute
International Brotherhood of Boilermakers, Iron Ship Builders, Blacksmiths, Forgers, and Helpers International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers National Association of Manufacturers
National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners
National Rural Electric Cooperative Association North America’s Building Trades Unions
Nuclear Energy Institute
Nuclear Waste Strategy Coalition
U.S. Chamber of Commerce
United Association of Journeymen and Apprentices of the Plumbing and Pipe Fitting Industry of the United States and Canada