Idaho Rep. Mike Simpson questioned a plan by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to halt plans to use Yucca Mountain in Nevada as a storage site for high-level nuclear waste. During a House hearing Thursday with DOE undersecretary Kristina Johnson, Simpson said that the U.S. will need to find a similar place to store toxic spent nuclear fuel—or, as he called it, gunk—from power plants, even if nuclear power technology improves.
After the hearing, Simpson had stronger criticism for the Obama administration. “The simple truth is a campaign promise made between Senator Reid and President Obama is what now dictates this county’s long-term nuclear waste storage policy,” Simpson said, according to his official website. “Without a doubt, this Administration has chosen politics over science, and it has already cost billions of taxpayer dollars.”
“President Obama joined the fight against the nuclear waste dump in his Presidential campaign, and I am proud that now he will deliver on his promise,” Reid said. “President Obama has made a critical first step towards fulfilling his promise to end the Yucca Mountain project, and I could not be happier for the people of Nevada. Make no mistake: this represents a significant and lasting victory in our battle to protect Nevada from becoming the country’s toxic wasteland.”
Simpson, along with Idaho’s other members of Congress, supports the development of nuclear power plants with new technology that could lead to less waste. Yet Simpson said during the hearing Tuesday that there would always be some waste, and a need for a storage facility like the one proposed at Yucca Mountain.