Sen. Bingaman proposes nuclear waste management bill

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Bingaman said in a statement Wednesday that he and ranking member Lisa MurkowskiLisa MurkowskiAARP targets five GOP senators on healthcare Senate feels pressure for summer healthcare vote Overnight Energy: Trump budget takes flak over oil provisions MORE (R-Alaska), and Sens. Lamar AlexanderLamar AlexanderRepublicans give Trump's budget the cold shoulder Senate GOP short on ideas for stabilizing ObamaCare markets GOP senators push Trump for DOE research funding MORE (R-Tenn.) and Dianne FeinsteinDianne FeinsteinJudiciary chair may call for meeting with Mueller Dem senators accuse Trump of purposefully holding back information Flynn refusal sets up potential subpoena showdown MORE (D-Calif.) had failed to agree on legislative language for the bill. But the New Mexico senator said he hoped the proposal would serve as a table-setter for a September hearing on nuclear waste management.

“Nonetheless, we agreed that I should introduce legislation and that the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources should hold a hearing in September," Bingaman said. "My hope is to obtain testimony on it and to build a legislative record that might serve as the foundation for further consideration and ultimate enactment in the next Congress."

The President's Blue Ribbon Commission recommended developing interim storage sites to hold the waste accumulating at nuclear power reactors; restarting efforts to build one or more permanent disposal sites; and establishing a new independent federal body to assume oversight duties from the Energy Department.

Obama and Republican lawmakers have been at odds over the issue, especially after the administration’s decision to abandon the long-planned and long-delayed Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository in Nevada.

Congress had identified Yucca Mountain as its preferred site for spent nuclear fuel in 1987, but amid opposition from Nevada lawmakers, spearheaded by Senate Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry ReidThis week: Congress awaits Comey testimony Will Republicans grow a spine and restore democracy? Racial representation: A solution to inequality in the People’s House MORE (D-Nev.), the White House abandoned the project in 2009. Republicans allege that the decision was motivated by politics and not science.

Obama and Energy Secretary Steven Chu established the commission in 2009 to recommend a path forward on the nation's nuclear waste storage plans.

About 65,000 metric tons of spent nuclear fuel is stored at 75 nuclear reactors around the nation.