Clinton Office Repeats Veto Threat on Nuclear Bill

Jan. 31, 2000
The Clinton administration repeated its threat to veto controversial legislation establishing a permanent disposal site for radioactive waste produced by nuclear power plants.The legislation, sponsored by Senate Energy Committee chairman and Alaskan Republican Frank Murkowski, would build a permanent disposal site in the Nevada mountains by the end of the decade to store some 40,000 metric tons of highly radioactive waste currently store at 103 commercial nuclear power plants nationwide. Until the permanent depository is built inside Yucca Mountain, the legislation would allow the nuclear waste to temporarily be stored above ground at the site. The Energy Department will issue a recommendation to the White House by 2001 on whether Yucca Mountain should be the permanent home for the waste. The administration estimates the legislation would cost approximately $1.2 billion through 2005. The legislation would give the Energy Department title to radioactive waste held by utilities. The Clinton administration opposes the current legislation because it authorizes the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), instead of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), to set maximum radiation standards for a permanent waste site. EPA in August proposed radiation limits that were much lower than those favored by the NRC. Environmentalists oppose storing nuclear waste at Yucca Mountain, claiming the depository would lie on a earthquake fault line and radioactive material would find its way into underground water at the site, leading to the contamination of drinking water. (Source: Reuters)

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