Excerpt from Bush-Cheney energy
policy report, pp. 5-16 & 5-17

"....The federal government must also provide for the safe disposal of nuclear waste.  At present, nuclear waste continues to be stored at local plant sites.  The Department of Energy is over a decade behind schedule for accepting nuclear waste from utilities, but has made progress toward characterization of the Yucca Mountain, Nevada site.  Construction of an exploratory studies facility has been completed, a viability assessment was published, and recently scientists placed their extensive research about

Yucca Mountain on the record for public scrutiny.  However, key regulatory standards to protect public health and the environment at the repository have not been issued.

The Administration will continue to study the science to determine whether to proceed with the consideration of this site as the location for the repository.  If the Administration decides to proceed, the Department of Energy must file a license application with the NRC.  No waste will be sent to any location until the NRC determines it to be safe.

Other countries have developed different approaches for nuclear waste disposal.  For example, the French, British and Japanese rely on reprocessing, an industrial approach that separates nuclear waste into usable fuel and highly concentrated waste.  While this approach does not obviate the need for geologic disposal of nuclear waste, it could significantly optimize the use of a geologic repository.  There is growing interest in new technology known as accelerator transmutation, which could be used in combination with reprocessing to reduce the quantity and toxicity of nuclear waste.


  • The NEPD Group recommends that the President support the expansion of nuclear energy in the United States as a major component of our national energy policy.  Following are the specific components of the recommendation:
  • Encourage the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) to ensure that safety and environmental protection are high priorities as they prepare to evaluate and expedite applications for licensing new advanced-technology nuclear reactors.
  • Encourage the NRC to facilitate efforts by utilities to expand nuclear energy generation in the United States by uprating existing nuclear plants safely.
  • Encourage the NRC to relicense existing nuclear plants that meet or exceed safety standards.
  • Direct the Secretary of Energy and the Administrator of the
  • Environmental Protection Agency to assess the potential of nuclear energy to improve air quality.
  • Increase resources as necessary for nuclear safety enforcement in light of the potential increase in generation.
  • Use the best science to provide a deep geologic repository for nuclear waste.
  • Support legislation clarifying that qualified funds set aside by plant owners for eventual decommissioning will not be taxed as part of the transaction.
  • Support legislation to extend the Price-Anderson act.

The NEPD Group recommends that, in the context of developing advanced nuclear fuel cycles and next generation technologies for nuclear energy, the United States should reexamine its policies to allow for research, development and deployment of fuel conditioning methods (such as pyroprocessing) that reduce waste streams and enhance proliferation resistance.  In doing so, the United States will continue to discourage the accumulation of separated plutonium, worldwide.

The United States should also consider technologies, in collaboration with international partners with highly developed fuel cycles and a record of close cooperation, to develop reprocessing and fuel treatment technologies that are cleaner, more efficient, less waste-intensive, and more proliferation-resistant."

Report of the National Energy Policy Development Group, National Energy

Policy, May 2001.  http://www.whitehouse.gov/energy/