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US House Republicans seek details on DOE plans for nuclear waste program


Two Republican members of the US House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Committee on Wednesday asked Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz to detail how the Department of Energy plans to deal with the spent nuclear fuel issue and support the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission's restarted licensing proceeding for a proposed a waste repository at Yucca Mountain, Nevada.

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Representatives Fred Upton of Michigan and John Shimkus of Illinois sought the information in letter that requested that Moniz respond by January 2. Upton chairs the Energy and Commerce Committee and Shimkus leads the panel's Subcommittee on Environment and the Economy. Both support a restart of the Yucca Mountain project.

Information the lawmakers sought includes when DOE plans to submit a proposal to Congress to change the Nuclear Waste Fund fee to zero, as a federal appeals court recently ordered. They also said that if DOE intends to comply with the Nuclear Waste Policy Act it should develop a plan for re-establishing the Office of Civilian Radioactive Waste Management, which handled the Yucca Mountain project.

In addition, DOE should provide an estimate to Congress of the funding it would need to support NRC's congressionally mandated review of DOE's Yucca Mountain repository license application, they said.

--Elaine Hiruo,
--Jeff Barber,