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E-M:/ Fw: MPSC-Press-Release: July 12, 2002 - MPSC Commends U.S. Senate for Passing the Yucca Mountain Resolution

Enviro-Mich message from "Patrick Diehl" <patmec@voyager.net>

COMMISSIONERS                                  CONTACTS
Laura Chappelle, Chairman                      Mary Jo Kunkle
David A. Svanda
Robert B. Nelson

    LANSING, July 12.  The members of the Michigan Public Service Commission
wish to commend the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives for
passing resolutions that will allow the process for building a national
repository for high-level nuclear waste to proceed to the licensing phases.
Resolutions of support were voted out of both houses of Congress by
significant margins.

    "Passage of the resolutions will serve to protect the significant
investment of the electricity consumers of the State of Michigan and the
nation in the federal radioactive waste management program," said Chairman
Laura Chappelle.  To date, Michigan's ratepayers have paid
more than $440 million into the federal Nuclear Waste Fund and more that $20
billion has been paid into the fund nationally.

    "In particular, I would like to applaud the leadership of Michigan's
senior Senator Carl Levin for recognizing that this process should not be
stopped before it has a chance to work," Chappelle said.  "I would also like
to express disappointment that Senator Debbie Stabenow,
despite her recent public letters of support for Yucca Mountain, voted to
keep the nuclear waste on the shores of the Great Lakes, rather than move it
to a safe national repository."

    The resolutions were required under the Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1982
in order to allow the U.S. Department of Energy to submit an application to
the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission for a license to begin construction
of the repository.  The open and rigorous application and review process
will be conducted under the technical expertise of the Nuclear Regulatory
Commission.  The application and review process is estimated to take about
five years, and is required just to get a license to begin construction of
the repository.  If the Nuclear Regulatory Commission issues the
construction license, a period of time will follow while the Department of
Energy oversees the actual building of the repository.  Once the
construction is completed, another open and rigorous review process will
commence to determine whether the repository should be licensed to begin
accepting waste for storage, and ultimately, disposal.

    Contrary to assertions by opponents of the project, no transportation
plans, let alone routes, have yet been decided upon.  In fact, concerns over
the development of the routes and modes for safely transporting the nuclear
waste will be addressed during these lengthy processes
and is expected to take many years to finalize.

    "The Public Service Commission will remain vigilant in monitoring the
program to ensure that the program stays on track and that the funds
invested for almost 20 years by the electricity consumers of Michigan and
the nation are used for their intended purposes in an efficient and
prudent manner to build a safe, cost-effective and environmentally sound
repository for the permanent disposal of high-level nuclear waste."

July 12, 2002
(MPSC commends U.S. Senate for passing the Yucca Mountain Resolution)

This message was sent from the mpsc-press mailing list maintained on

Patrick Diehl
Associate Director
Michigan Environmental Council
119 Pere Marquette Drive, Ste. 2A
Lansing, MI 48912
517-487-9541 fax

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