Exelon's Rowe to Serve on Nuclear Waste Disposal Panel
More details are emerging on a plan by the Obama administration to set up a Blue Ribbon Commission to study and develop long-term solutions for storing spent nuclear fuel rods from the nation's power plants (DEN, Jan. 29, Ex-Rep. Hamilton, Scowcroft to Lead New DOE Nuclear Waste Panel), the Phoenix Business Journal reported. The panel, which will be led by former Rep. Lee Hamilton, D-Ind., and ex-National Security Advisor Brent Scowcroft, will include 15 commission members. Named to the panel were Exelon President and CEO John Rowe, former Sens. Pete V. Domenici, R-N.M., and Chuck Hagel, R-Neb., ex-FERC commissioner Vicky Bailey and ex-NRC commissioner Richard A. Meserve. The commission was given 18 months to ready an interim report and 24 months to submit the final version, but Hamilton said he hoped progress would "move on a faster track than that."
Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., said President Obama's endorsement of nuclear power, the commission and higher loan guarantees for construction would "enable the United States to catch up with the rest of the world in building the most reliable way to produce cheap, carbon-free electricity." The announcement of the commission, following news of the raised loan guarantees, rapidly spurred opposition from some environmentalists, Sustainable Business reported.
The Nuclear Information and Resource Service said 3,000 letters against nuclear power plants were sent to the White House in 48 hours. The group's president, Michael Mariotte, said Obama "needs to remember what Candidate Obama promised: no more taxpayer subsidies for nuclear power." Ellen Vancko, Union of Concerned Scientists nuclear energy and climate change project manager, said: "At a time when our country is struggling economically, it is a mistake to force U.S. taxpayers to assume financial risks that the private sector will not by guaranteeing tens of billions of dollars in risky loans to an industry with a track record of cancellations and defaults."
Sustainable Business via Reuters.com, Feb. 6; Phoenix (Ariz.) Business Journal, Feb. 5.
DOE news release, Jan. 29.