Society News Archive

23 February 2015
Senator Lamar Alexander to Hold Hearings on Nuclear Energy

Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN) is the new chairman of the Senate Energy and Water Development Appropriations Subcommittee that has jurisdiction over the budget for the Department of Energy (DOE). In a speech earlier this month to the Nuclear Energy Institute, Alexander discussed his views on encouraging nuclear energy in the United States, nuclear waste, and increasing funding for energy research and also discussed his intention to hold a series of hearings during the next few months. 

Alexander's speech followed the completion of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission's (NRC) final two volumes of a technical safety review of the proposed Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository. The review was initiated by an 8,600-page application submitted by the DOE in 2008 during the Bush Administration.  DOE sought to withdraw this application during the Obama Administration; a federal judge later ruled that the review must continue. 

In a statement announcing the completion of the remaining volumes, the NRC explained: "Completion of the safety evaluation report does not represent an agency decision on whether to authorize construction. A final licensing decision, should funds beyond those currently available be appropriated, could come only after completion of a supplement to the Department of Energy's environmental impact statement, hearings on contentions in the adjudication, and Commission review."

Read more on the American Institute of Physics website.