Nuclear should be a "major component"

26 May 2001

But the 163-page report, written by a cabinet-level task force headed by vice president Dick Cheney, contains recommendations for achieving this goal that are only general in nature. The report recommends the following:

· The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) should ensure that safety and environmental protection are high priorities as it prepares to evaluate and expedite applications for licensing new advanced-technology nuclear reactors.

· The NRC should facilitate efforts by utilities to expand nuclear energy generation in the United States by uprating existing nuclear plants safely.

· The NRC should relicense existing nuclear plants that meet or exceed safety standards.

· The Secretary of Energy and the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency should assess the potential of nuclear energy to improve air quality.

· Resources necessary to enforce nuclear safety should be increased in light of the potential increase in generation.

· The best science should be used to provide a deep geologic repository for nuclear waste.

· Legislation should be enacted clarifying that qualified funds set aside by nuclear plant owners for eventual decommissioning should not be taxed if utilities merge or a plant is sold to a new owner.

· Legislation should be enacted extending the Price-Anderson nuclear insurance law, which expires in August 2002. This move will allow nuclear companies to remain exempt from unlimited liability for accidents.

· US policy on nuclear fuel reprocessing should be reexamined in the context of developing advanced nuclear fuel cycles and next-generation technologies for nuclear energy to allow R&D and deployment of fuel conditioning methods (such as pyroprocessing) that reduce waste streams and enhance proliferation resistance. In doing so, the USA will continue to discourage the accumulation of separated plutonium worldwide.

The USA should also consider, in collaboration with international partners with highly developed fuel cycles and a record of close co-operation, the development of reprocessing and fuel treatment technologies that are cleaner, more efficient, less waste-intensive, and more proliferation-resistant.

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