Yucca site is seeking a license to store some 77,000 tons of the radioactive leftovers.Congress critters who don't live in Nevada or Utah don't see what the big deal is, because they aren't in the path of potential disaster and they don't want their waste anywhere near them.
Between 87 percent and 95 percent of that waste would travel through Utah en route to the southern Nevada facility, and Utah could again be looked at as a potential storage site for spent nuclear fuel.
Rep. Jim Matheson wants to take another route: leaving the waste where it was created.
The Utah Democrat pushed the Department of Energy official and others Tuesday about a bill he introduced in 2005 to have nuclear power plants hold onto their waste at reactor sites and for the DOE to take charge of them.
"The transportation of nuclear waste across the continent creates more problems than leaving it where it is," Matheson said, noting he does not oppose nuclear energy. "I just don't think moving the waste to Yucca Mountain really solves the problem. Even if we were to magically open Yucca Mountain today, we wouldn't have enough room for the waste we have."
That concern was shared by Rep. John Shimkus, R-Ill., who argued Yucca Mountain makes the most sense because it is remote and "there's no one around."Au contraire, Congressman Gonzalez. A delay works to benefit of people in Utah and Nevada.
"If we can't put it in the desert, under a mountain, we just can't put it anywhere in this country," Shimkus said.
"A delay doesn't work for anyone's benefit," said Rep. Charles A. Gonzalez, D-Tex., who added that a lack of a clear storage plan is an "argument against improving our reactor capacity."