Thirty Science, Nuclear Security Environmental Organizations Urge Senate

For Immediate Release

Contact: 

Elliott Negin, 202-331-5439

Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS)

Thirty Science, Nuclear Security Environmental Organizations Urge Senate

to Strike Nuclear Fuel Reprocessing Provision From Energy Bill

WASHINGTON - Thirty science, nuclear security and environmental organizations today urged the Senate to reject a provision in pending energy legislation that would fund the construction of a nuclear waste reprocessing facility.

In a joint letter to lawmakers, the organizations targeted a provision in the New Energy Reform Act of 2008 that would establish an Energy Department-estimated $1.5 billion research and development facility for reprocessing spent nuclear fuel. They cited exorbitant costs, the threat of nuclear terror, technology flaws, and pollution risks as the main reasons Congress should strike the provision from the bill. (For the letter, go to www.ucsusa.org/reprocessingletter.)

The estimated billion-and-a-half taxpayer bill would cover only a small portion of cost of reprocessing, the groups pointed out. "According to the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) in 1996," the letter states, "the total cost of a reprocessing and fast reactor program could be more than $700 billion (in 2007 dollars)."

"Even by the nuclear industry's own estimates, reprocessing costs are astronomical," said Ed Lyman, a senior scientist at the Union of Concerned Scientists' Global Security Program. "Wasting billions of dollars on a nuclear waste reprocessing plant would expose Americans to a greater threat of nuclear terrorism and divert resources needed for new technologies that could genuinely strengthen our energy security. This misguided provision has no place in this bill."

The 17 national organizations that signed the letter are the Alliance for Nuclear Accountability, Arms Control Association, Beyond Nuclear, Council for a Livable World, Faithful Security, Friends Committee on National Legislation, Friends of the Earth, Global Green USA, Greenpeace, Institute for Energy and Environmental Research, Natural Resources Defense Council, Nuclear Information and Resource Service, Physicians for Social Responsibility, Public Citizen, Sierra Club, Union of Concerned Scientists and Women's Action for New Directions.

The 13 state and local organizations that signed the letter are Atlanta Women's Action for New Directions, Carolina Peace Resource Center (Columbia, S.C.), Coastal Conservation League (S.C.), Healing Ourselves and Mother Earth (Nev.), Healthy Environmental Alliance of Utah, Nuclear Watch New Mexico, Nuclear Watch South (Ga.), Peaceworks Kansas City (Mo.), Rocky Mountain Peace and Justice Center (Colo.), Sierra Club of South Carolina, Snake River Alliance (Idaho), Southern Alliance for Clean Energy (Ga.) and Tri-Valley CAREs (Livermore, Calif.).

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Founded in 1969, the Union of Concerned Scientists is the leading science-based nonprofit organization working for a healthy environment and a safer world. The organization is headquartered in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and also has offices in Berkeley, Chicago and Washington, D.C. For more information, go to www.ucsusa.org.

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