U.S. Secretary of Energy Steven Chu has announced the formation of a Blue Ribbon Commission on America’s Nuclear Future. The commission, led 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 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.

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.

The members of the Blue Ribbon Commission are:

  • Lee Hamilton, Co-Chair
  • Brent Scowcroft, Co-Chair
  • Mark Ayers, President, Building and Construction Trades Department, AFL-CIO
  • Vicky Bailey, Former Commissioner, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission; Former IN PUC Commissioner; Former Department of Energy Assistant Secretary for Policy and International Affairs
  • Albert Carnesale, Chancellor Emeritus and Professor, UCLA
  • Pete V. Domenici, Senior Fellow, Bipartisan Policy Center; former U.S. Senator (R-NM)
  • Susan Eisenhower, President, Eisenhower Group
  • Chuck Hagel, Former U.S. Senator (R-NE)
  • Jonathan Lash, President, World Resources Institute
  • Allison Macfarlane, Associate Professor of Environmental Science and Policy, George Mason University
  • Dick Meserve, Former Chairman, Nuclear Regulatory Commission
  • Ernie Moniz, Professor of Physics and Cecil & Ida Green Distinguished Professor, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Per Peterson, Professor and Chair, Department of Nuclear Engineering, University of California – Berkeley
  • John Rowe, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Exelon Corporation
  • Phil Sharp, President, Resources for the Future

Meanwhile, the Nuclear Energy Institute has called for the requirement for utilities to pay into the federal nuclear waste fund to be suspended. President an CEO of the industry association Marvin Fertel, said:

“While the Blue Ribbon Commission performs its role, and prior to the identification of any new projects necessary for the federal government to fulfill its obligation under the Nuclear Waste Policy Act, the industry continues to recommend that the Secretary of Energy suspend the requirement for consumer payments into the federal Nuclear Waste Fund. Electricity customers should no longer contribute more than $750 million in annual payments into a fund that has a $22 billion surplus and earns annual interest in excess of $1 billion.”

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