April 4, 2006

W. House to send Congress nuke storage legislation

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Bush administration will send to
Congress on Wednesday a legislative proposal designed to hasten
the opening of the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste storage site in
Nevada, U.S. Energy Secretary Sam Bodman said.

Bodman said the proposed legislation "will speed the
process of opening the Yucca Mountain repository and make it an
even more valuable national asset once it is up and running."

The contentious storage site is designed to hold the
thousands of tons of spent fuel and other radioactive waste now
at nuclear power plants around the country.

"The bill we are sending to Congress represents a serious
effort on our part to remove a number of legal and regulatory
barriers that we believe stand in the way of making timely
progress toward completing and opening the Yucca Mountain
repository," Bodman said.

Bodman announced the legislative proposal in a speech to
the United States Energy Association's annual meeting.

Talking later with reporters, Bodman provided few details
on the legislation. He refused to say for example when, or how
much sooner, the legislation calls for opening the storage

But he did divulge that the measure did not seek to give
the Energy Department the authority to open an interim
above-ground storage site for the nuclear waste until the
permanent Yucca Mountain site was ready.

The Energy Department was scheduled to hold a briefing with
reporters on Tuesday afternoon to discuss the legislation.