DOE forms group to devise new nuclear waste plan

WASHINGTON -- Energy Secretary Steven Chu is moving forward on a new strategy for managing nuclear waste in the wake of a study that recommended changes in how a disposal site might be developed.

Chu announced in Georgia on Wednesday that he has formed an internal DOE group to assess the recommendations of the nuclear waste commission "and develop a strategy that builds on its excellent work."

The Energy Department was directed to provide Congress with a nuclear waste plan within six months after the termination of the Yucca Mountain project in Nevada, about 100 miles northwest of Las Vegas, and the release of the commission's report in January.

"I am committed to working with Congress to consider the commission's proposals and develop a long-term strategy for the disposal of nuclear waste," Chu's remarks said.

Chu made the announcement in a speech at the Vogtle nuclear power plant in Waynesboro, Ga., where the government last week awarded the first permit in 35 years to build a new commercial reactor.

Among its findings, the commission recommended giving states and communities a larger voice in hosting a nuclear waste repository. The group said a "consent-based" approach might work better than a strategy that inflamed Nevada officials.

Contact Stephens Washington Bureau Chief Steve Tetreault a or 202-783-1760.