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House To Consider Bill To Make Yucca Mountain Permanent Storage Site For Nuclear Waste

July 3, 2017 1:29 p.m.

House To Consider Bill To Make Yucca Mountain Permanent Storage Site For Nuclear Waste

GUEST:

Rep. Scott Peters, D-San Diego

Related Story: House To Consider Bill To Make Yucca Mountain Permanent Storage Site For Nuclear Waste

Transcript:

This is a rush transcript created by a contractor for KPBS to improve accessibility for the deaf and hard-of-hearing. Please refer to the media file as the formal record of this interview. Opinions expressed by guests during interviews reflect the guest’s individual views and do not necessarily represent those of KPBS staff, members or its sponsors.

There is a revived proposal for a Yucca Mountain permanent nuclear waste repository and they say no to a new presidential commission on elections . This is KPBS Midday Edition. I'm Maureen Cavanaugh. It is Monday, July 3. Our top story on midday edition Congress took the first steps last week toward reviving a plan to build a nuclear waste repository at Yucca Mountain in Nevada. That could mean that nuclear fuel could be moved and not stored indefinitely. The proposal to build away storage site in the mountains 100 miles from Las Vegas now has an unusual amount of bipartisan support. The plan was stalled for years by Henry Reed who retired last year. Joining me is Scott Peters of San Diego. He voted to move the bill to the full house. Welcome.
Thank you.
You and Darrell Issa both voted to reopen plans for the Yucca Mountain repository. Why is this getting bipartisan support question mark
I am new to the issue but I listened to the testimony along with my colleagues and we recognize that this is the responsible thing to do. They've already invested 15 million dollars in the proposal in places like San Onofre. We have 3 million pounds of nuclear waste. Yucca Mountain being a permanent one but other sites from New Mexico and Texico dachshund Texas are being considered. We could this happen soon enough to avoid moving the waste near the shoreline at San Onofre?
I'm not sure how quickly we can make this happen. My preference is never having to storage near the ocean but you have to think about what is the safest. I think we will try to move things as quick as we can.
You mentioned interim storage solutions along with Yucca Mountain perhaps in Texas or New Mexico, to those storage facilities conceivably opened before the repository at Yucca Mountain question
We make sure that we are pursuing both plans. There has been some suggestion that we would hold up on any interim storage planning until Yucca Mountain was assured. We thought that the not make sense so we are trying to pursue both avenues. The sooner we can get them open, the better. Would like a storage facility like yucca because it seems like it is the safest place but we know that the interim facilities in New Mexico and west Texas are a lot safer place.
Do you think the process so far that where and how to store the nuclear waste from San Onofre has been transparent enough for the public to have confidence in it
I took a tour of the site. I believe that the process that they've established for public engagement is appropriate. They have the right people representing the public on their committee. I think they are trying to do the right thing. I also would like to say that the physics of this material is complicated. You have to do a lot of exchange of information and a lot of listening and openness to build trust. It does seem to me that Edison is making an attempt to inform people and engage them. I have the impression that the process of the set up to do that.
The federal government has made statements in the past that any choice of a nuclear repository would have to have the consent of the recipient state. Nevada legislators and citizens remains steadfastly opposed to the Yucca Mountain waste site. What do you think about this issue?
I think that the dynamics of this make it difficult for any Nevada legislator to say okay to put waste in Nevada. I'm not sure how we would make this decision depended on the agreement of Nevada legislators or locality. I think from our perspective we just want to do something that is the most responsible and safest place to put this ways. We have a lot of nuclear plants that will be shutting down. I think we have to look at it from that perspective not state-by-state perspective.
So Congress can pass this over Nevada's objections question
Yes.
The house will vote on the bill that came out of your committee. Are they crafting their own version to craft the Yucca Mountain plan question
I know this conversation is happening. I'm not sure where they are in the process that the house will vote on this measure in I suspect it will get a big vote in the house and then the Senate will get it and if they are not started this will invite them to close the loop and come up with a policy.
Do you expect if it arrives on is just that President Donald Trump would sign legislation for the Yucca Mountain plan?
I'm not good at guessing what he will do but I would suspect that something that has this much bipartisan support is something he would like to put his name on.
I've been speaking with Scott Peters. Thank you so much.
Thank you for having me.