Moniz backs new nuclear waste agency

Addressing the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, newly minted Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz signaled his support for creating a new federal agency to oversee management of nuclear waste in the United States, a responsibility currently under the purview of Moniz’ DOE, National Journal reports.

The idea for the new agency is floated in the proposed Nuclear Waste Administration Act. While declining to issue an official administration endorsement of the bill, Moniz lent support to its contents, including creation of alternatives to the trouble Yucca Mountain nuclear waste storage facility in Nevada.

“Rather than continuing to spend billions of dollars more on a project that faces such strong opposition, the administration believes…aconsent-based solution for the long-term management of our used fuel and nuclear waste…has the potential to gain the necessary public acceptance,” Moniz said, according to reports.

When Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) asked Moniz if a 10 year timeline for creating a new storage facility was a realistic goal, Moniz called the idea “aggressive, but quite feasible,” adding that “it will take a dedicated organization to manage that.”