Right now, various parts of our government are operating on a continuing resolution. If you go look at the bill that stalled, over a QUARTER OF A BILLION DOLLARS was EARMARKED for Pro Nuclear work at the NRC, DOE and specifically through the GNEP iniative. If we can lobby Congress hard enough, if we can bring Greenpeace, NIRS and others into this war, we can literally Castrate the Nuclear Industry's Pro Nuke Tiger, leave them licking their proverbial wounds. Imagine taking that money earmarked for PRO NUKE, and instead putting it into TRUE ALTERNATIVE ENERGY options such as wind and solar.
Nuclear renaissance in neutral, NRC member says
Matthew L. Wald
New York Times News Service
WASHINGTON - The senior member of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission warned Monday that the failure of Congress to pass a detailed budget for the current fiscal year could damage the nuclear renaissance that the government tried so hard to encourage with the energy bill of 2005.
No one has applied for permission to build a power reactor since the 1970s. But with the incentives offered by the federal government in 2005, utilities are considering building about 20 reactors, and several of them are expected to apply for authorization this year. NOT IF WE CONVINCE CONGRESS TO UNFUND THEM.
The commission member, Edward McGaffigan Jr., said that if the commission received applications this year, "we basically are going to have to put them on the shelf, because we're not going to have the folks to work on the applications until well into calendar year 2008."
The Republican-controlled Congress passed only two of the 11 spending bills for the fiscal year that began Oct. 1, 2006, those covering the Pentagon and the Homeland Security Department. The rest of the government has been operating under a "continuing resolution," a stopgap measure that finances most agencies at the previous year' levels. Democrats say they plan to extend that resolution through Sept. 30, the end of the fiscal year.
According to the nuclear commission, under a continuing resolution its budget would be lower by $95 million, or about 12 percent, compared with the level approved by the House and Senate Appropriations Committees but never by the full Congress. Most of the commission's budget comes from fees paid by companies licensed to use radioactive material. The agency has been arguing on Capitol Hill that giving it the amount already approved by the Appropriations Committees would require only $13 million of general tax revenues. DOE's budget could be negatively impacted by three times this much...there is almost half a billion dollars that could be redirected to BETTER OPTIONS.
McGaffigan said that if the commission could not process applications, some companies wanting to build would decide to wait. But he said that "some, seeing the instability, may disappear" and build coal plants instead.
Earlier this month, McGaffigan told the White House he had metastatic melanoma and that he would serve only until a successor could be confirmed. He spoke Monday at a meeting with reporters organized by Platts, an energy information company.
McGaffigan also said that the Energy Department should begin looking for alternatives to Yucca Mountain, in Nevada, for disposing of nuclear waste from plants around the country, including Diablo Canyon near Avila Beach.
When he came to the commission in 1996, he said, the opening of the repository was said to be 14 years away; now it is probably 20 years away.
"There's just tremendous uncertainty," he said, "and each year that passes, we're not going to get any closer to Yucca under the current circumstances." He said the government should look for a site where there was local cooperation.