House preparing to slap Obama administration on Yucca Mountain

The amendment is a reaction to the NRC’s decision not to follow U.S. law that calls for an assessment of the facility within three years. The Obama administration opposes the Yucca Mountain project and has stopped the review, but House Republicans and Democrats on Tuesday indicated they will push for the NRC assessment to take place.

“It is our belief that the commission has adequate funds to resume licensing activities for the Yucca Mountain project, as called for in the Nuclear Waste Policy Act,” Rep. Norm Dicks (D-Wash.) said on the House floor. “But the commission simply has refused to act.

“The fact is we passed a law that was signed by the President of the United States at that time … and that law has not been repealed,” Dicks added. “Allowing the Nuclear Regulatory Commission such power, to effectively cancel Yucca Mountain after Congress has enacted a law directing that it be accomplished, would be an affront to the Constitution, and it would shift the balance of power to executive agencies to evade congressionally mandated legal obligations.”

Rep. Doc Hastings (R-Wash.) said the House has acted 32 times to support the use of Yucca Mountain as a waste site, and Dicks added that current law requires the NRC to complete its assessment.

“We need to ensure that the administration does not unilaterally dictate policy for nuclear waste disposal,” Rep. Peter Visclosky (D-Ind.) said.

Shimkus’s office said that while he believes the $10 million given to the NRC is already enough money, the additional $10 million is provided “so they can continue that process.”

The House started work on amendments to the Energy and Water bill, H.R. 5325, after returning to work Tuesday afternoon, and was expected to continue that work until about 5 p.m.

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