Sen. Bingaman’s nuclear waste commission draft squeaks by with no amendments

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The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee narrowly defeated a GOP amendment yesterday that would have provided government support for two nuclear waste reprocessing facilities and $1 million for places willing to site a temporary storage area for used fuel.

The amendment offered by Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) failed in a 11-11 tie vote, with Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) joining the 10 panel Republicans and Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.) recording a vote of “pass.” It was one of three GOP amendments, along with a fourth from Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) that the committee rejected.

A draft bill (pdf) from Chairman Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.) would create an 11-member commission chosen by the president to study alternatives to the geologic repository at Yucca Mountain, Nev., including permanent disposal elsewhere, long-term storage on site or in regional sites, and reprocessing. It would also assess the mistakes made in the Yucca Mountain project, the costs and benefits of reprocessing, a new entity to manage the waste issue and funding mechanisms for nuclear waste management


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