Governor Urges Energy Secretary To Reverse Course on Dismantling Yucca Mountain

Sep 13th, 2010 | By | Category: Featured Story

Connecticut Ratepayers Spend Millions to Store Spent Nuclear Fuel in State

View to the south of Yucca Mountain crest showing coring activities. (USGov-DOE)

Gov. M. Jodi Rell is urging the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to stop its plans for dismantling operations at Yucca Mountain, the nation’s nuclear waste repository in Nevada, until a pending request to withdraw its license application is legally resolved.

In a Sept. 2 letter to DOE Secretary Stephen Chu (attached), Gov. Rell expressed concern that in the nearly three decades that the Yucca Mountain project has been in the works, Connecticut ratepayers have spent millions of dollars to store spent nuclear fuel here from two nuclear plants.

On August 29, 2010, CT Environmental Headlines reported on a story that appeared in the Hartford Business Journal. It said that a coalition of business and utilities is demanding the Obama administration reverse its decision undoing three decades of planning for disposing of waste from the country’s nuclear power programs. Read the council’s news release here: New England Council Urges Nuke Commission to Proceed with Yucca Mountain Site for Nuclear Waste,


Connecticut is home to one of New England’s three permanently shut down single unit reactor sites (Connecticut Yankee) and one multiple operating reactor site (Millstone). A 1982 federal law – the Nuclear Waste Policy Act (NWPA) – required that DOE establish a national repository by 1998.

“DOE has spent decades and billions of dollars investigating the suitability of Yucca Mountain as a geologic repository, determined in 2002 that Yucca Mountain was a suitable location, and even now concedes that its Yucca Mountain application is neither flawed nor the site unsafe,” the governor wrote. “To now reverse developing Yucca Mountain as a permanent storage site as a matter of policy is a disservice to Connecticut ratepayers, who continue to be burdened by DOE’s delay in proceeding with its license application.”

The DOE’s request to withdraw the operating license has been denied by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s (NRC) Atomic Safety and Licensing Board. The full NRC is reviewing the Licensing Board’s finding. A federal lawsuit on the issue is also pending in South Carolina and that court has indicated it will wait until the NRC ruling before proceeding with the case.

Governor Rell has also written to the state’s Congressional delegation asking for their support in keeping Yucca Mountain from closing (letter attached).

“The Nuclear Waste Policy Act passed by Congress designated Yucca Mountain as the only candidate site for the national repository,” the governor told the delegation. “Congressional intent is clear – Congress has voted several times to retain Yucca Mountain as the national repository. I hope you will join me in fighting the DOE’s effort to ignore Congressional intent.”

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One Comment to “Governor Urges Energy Secretary To Reverse Course on Dismantling Yucca Mountain”

  1. John Tiernan says:

    Gov. Rell is acting wisely but withholding the awful truth that over 3 decades the taxpayers have unwittingly spent $30-billion that will go down the drain without having provided any service unless the feds keep Yucca Mtn open and available as a repository.
    The prime reason for shutting it is Harry Reid’s attempt to get votes from new arrivals in Las Vegas who don’t realize that their adopted state has been a nuclear test ground for six decades, and are suddenly fearful of radioactivity.

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