Governor M. Jodi Rell today announced her strong support for the U.S. Department of Energy’s application for a license to operate a facility at Yucca Mountain in Nevada to store spent nuclear fuel rods and other nuclear waste.
“This application is a long time in coming but is extremely welcome news for the people of Connecticut,” Governor Rell said. “There is a real need for a long-term solution for the storage of used fuel rods and other materials, not only from Millstone Nuclear Power Plant but from the closed Connecticut Yankee facility. The federal government has a responsibility – to Connecticut and to the nation – to see to it that these materials are stored safely, for the long term, and Yucca Mountain has long been identified as a place where that difficult but necessary job can best be accomplished.
“About half of the electricity produced in Connecticut comes from nuclear power,” the Governor said. “Connecticut’s energy needs are growing steadily, even as the prices for generating power from such traditional sources as oil and natural gas climb even higher. A sensible and safe long-term storage solution is vital to ensuring that we can continue to rely on nuclear power as a critical element of Connecticut’s energy system – and that our homes and businesses can depend on a steady flow of power.”
The DOE application must be approved by the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission, a process the Energy Department expects to take about three years. If approved, the next step would be construction of the facility.
The DOE plan would place spent fuel rods and other waste in special, corrosion-resistant containers that would then be buried in a geologically stable area deep underground. The area around the facility would be marked with a variety of symbols and monuments, including warning signs intended to be interpreted by people thousands of years into the future, even if human languages have changed dramatically.