Congressman Wilson introduces bill to bring back Yucca, says project is 'safe'

News 12 at First at Five / Thursday, May 3, 2012

AIKEN, S.C. -- While South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson hopes to revive Yucca Mountain through the courts, his father, Congressman Joe Wilson, has drafted up legislation to do the same.

"Working together, we've got various bills that all will provide for following the law -- the law of 1987 that provided that Yucca Mountain would be the repository for spend nuclear fuel. That's where it should be," Congressman Wilson said.

The Republican now represents all of Aiken County, and he released his bill about a week ago. Congressman Jeff Duncan, also a local, released a bill to revive Yucca a few weeks prior. Sen. Lindsey Graham has a similar bill, too.

The only thing in the way now is politics.

"The issue of Yucca Mountain has become political. It should not be political. It really should be scientific, because we would not be proposing the placement of nuclear waste if thought that, in any way, that it could be negative to the people of Nevada," Wilson said.

He says if one of these bills did pass through the House, it would go to the Senate, where the majority leader is from Nevada, and he's strongly opposed to the repository 100 miles northwest of Las Vegas.

"Sadly, what really is blocking the efforts is the Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. He, sadly, obviously, has the ear of the president and is obviously letting politics intrude on what is best for the country," Wilson said.

Wilson says he hopes if Yucca it isn't put back on the table, the money will be paid back by the federal government and that's what his legislation would require. It would also penalize the Department of Energy. They'd have to pay $100 million a year to each state holding waste that should've gone to Yucca.

"The bottom line is Yucca Mountain is safe. We would not want it if it were not safe for the people of our country," Wilson said.

A panel of judges with the NRC tried to stop the Department of Energy from terminating Yucca a few years ago. Despite the arguments, the chairman stopped the debate. That chairman was once an aide to Sen. Harry Reid.

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