Still Kicking the Nuclear Waste Can Down the Road

Perplexed? I’m beyond perplexed!  Normally when you fork over funds for something, you get something in return. But not when it comes to the energy business and the current state of U.S. politics!  For years nuclear power plants have been paying into a U.S. Department of Energy program to take care of their nuclear waste – to safely store it.  So far the nuclear industry has put $28 billion into the coffers for this purpose. This program came into law with the Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1982 which called for the construction and maintenance of multiple waste deposit sites, and then in 1987 an amendment to the Act directed that a single depository be built – Yucca Mountain, Nevada.  

Because nuclear power does not pollute the air with harmful emissions, it is considered by many to be a “GREEN” technology. However, the U.S. must decide a course of action for the waste from its nuclear power plants if nuclear is going to be a viable energy technology for the future.

But guess what?  Because of partisan politics, the U.S. government, still — 26 years later — has not begun to take that waste and store it; not at Yucca, not anywhere.  The waste of our country’s nuclear power plants is sitting around all over the countryside next to each nuclear power plant. Now, if YOU had paid $28 billion for someone to take out your trash and properly store it so no one would accidentally get hurt by it, and 26 years later, the contractor still had not done it, wouldn’t you be mad?

True, some of the nuclear utilities have sued the U.S. government to get that money back and thus far they have retrieved about $2.6 billion. They could probably use those funds to ensure that their on-site storage facilities are safely maintained. But, they had to burn a lot of “people energy” and time and money on legal fees to do so.  More legal suits are still in the works and Washington continues to kick our country’s nuclear waste disposal issue down the road with occasional help kicking that can from entities, such as the Blue Ribbon Commission which has been studying alternatives to opening the doors at Yucca Mountain. 

Now, bless-their-hearts (I always say that about people who are forced to declare obviously wrong decisions) the folks at the U.S. Department of Energy, have come out and said that not only do the utilities still have to pay this fee, the DOE is not even going to adjust it down one little bit …! The utilities still have to continue to pay it – even though they continue to get nothing for it and no one else is getting anything either – certainly not the individuals like you and me paying monthly electric bills. 

WHAT?  How is this right? Plan and simple, it’s NOT.  It’s politics played to benefit the few, instead of benefitting everyone and the future of our energy security.  Would someone please pick up the can of the nuclear waste issue and quit kicking it down the road?
 Click here for a good background story   

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