Friday, January 29, 2010

Chu picks Domenici for nuclear commision

Sen. Pete Domenici (retired) and wife Nancy live in Washington, but were in Albuquerque two weeks ago for their son Pete Domenici Jr's 2010 gubernatorial announcement.
As part of President Barack Obama's commitment to restarting America’s nuclear industry, U.S. Secretary of Energy Steven Chu announced the formation of a Blue Ribbon Commission on America’s Nuclear Future and retired U.S. Sen. and Chairm on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Pete Domenici has been named to the panel.

"Nuclear energy, in my view, has to be a key component of a new American energy policy that moves toward renewable, non-carbon emitting energy sources," Domenici said after being selected. "The 2005 Energy Policy Act...attempted to encourage nuclear, wind, bio-mass, solar and other forms of renewable energy. I am pleased that Secretary Chu has indicated that the Administration will expand the loan guarantee provisions in that law that help nuclear energy."

Finding long-term solutions for nuclear waste

The commission, which will be chaired by former Congressman Lee Hamilton and former National Security Advisor Brent Scowcroft, will provide recommendations for developing a safe, long-term solution to managing the Nation’s used nuclear fuel and nuclear waste.

In light of the Administration’s decision not to proceed with the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository, President Obama has directed Secretary Chu to establish the Commission to conduct a comprehensive review of policies for managing the back end of the nuclear fuel cycle. The Commission will provide advice and make recommendations on issues including alternatives for the storage, processing, and disposal of civilian and defense spent nuclear fuel and nuclear waste.

"This Commission has the potential to make a very positive contribution to national energy policy and I intend to participate fully," Domenici said. "In that capacity, I will once again call upon the unique resources available to us in New Mexico, where we have some of the most knowledgeable nuclear scientists and engineers in the world. The President deserves our commendation for establishing this Commission under the leadership of Secretary Chu, one of the outstanding scientists in the world."

A record of tackling tough issues

Chu said the administration is committed to promoting nuclear power in the United states because it's energy "provides a clean, safe, reliable power" and will have an important role to play "as we build a low-carbon future."

"The United States and developing a safe, long-term solution for the management of used nuclear fuel and nuclear waste," Chu said. "The work of the Blue Ribbon Commission will be invaluable to this process," Secretary Chu said.

The Commission is made up of 15 members who have a range of expertise and experience in nuclear issues, including scientists, industry representatives, and respected former elected officials. The Commission’s co-chairs have a record of tackling tough challenges in a thoughtful, comprehensive manner and building consensus among an array of interests.

The Commission will produce an interim report within 18 months and a final report within 24 months.

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