Energy chief: Don't 'linger' over Yucca decision

Energy Secretary Steven Chu pledged Tuesday to proceed with the termination of the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository despite mounting resistance in Congress.

"We believe we do have the legal authority to do this," Chu said following his keynote address at a conference held by the Energy Information Administration and the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies. "There are members of Congress who don't, so we've agreed to have our lawyers get together with their lawyers to hash that out."

Earlier this year, Chu appointed a commission to explore alternatives to the Yucca Mountain facility. He has insisted that the commission's mandate is to reconsider all aspects of the "back-end fuel question," not just relocate the waste repository elsewhere. But some lawmakers are wary of the decision because states might not approve new power plants without a permanent solution to waste storage.

Chu reiterated Tuesday morning that his plans to abort the Yucca Mountain facility will not be derailed by congressional resistance.

"We are taking steps to end [Yucca Mountain] because... we see no point in it. It's spending a lot of money," he said. "It's very important that we not linger around this decision. It's been made, and we want to go forward and move into the future."

When asked about a price on carbon, Chu conceded that the Obama administration must take the state of the economy into account as they chart a way forward on energy. "I think one has to be very, very careful about putting this price on while we're still in a deep recession," he said.

But the instability of the economy should not be exaggerated, he added. "Look, the signs are very good, the GDP in the last two quarters has increased for the first time, the unemployment figures have stabilized and are beginning to come back," Chu said. "We have to make sure that the unemployment figures go down over the next coming quarters. That's the most important thing and what the administration's focused on."

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
Close [ x ] More from GovExec

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Going Agile:Revolutionizing Federal Digital Services Delivery

    Here’s one indication that times have changed: Harriet Tubman is going to be the next face of the twenty dollar bill. Another sign of change? The way in which the federal government arrived at that decision.

  • Cyber Risk Report: Cybercrime Trends from 2016

    In our first half 2016 cyber trends report, SurfWatch Labs threat intelligence analysts noted one key theme – the interconnected nature of cybercrime – and the second half of the year saw organizations continuing to struggle with that reality. The number of potential cyber threats, the pool of already compromised information, and the ease of finding increasingly sophisticated cybercriminal tools continued to snowball throughout the year.

  • Featured Content from RSA Conference: Dissed by NIST

    Learn more about the latest draft of the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology guidance document on authentication and lifecycle management.

  • GBC Issue Brief: The Future of 9-1-1

    A Look Into the Next Generation of Emergency Services

  • GBC Survey Report: Securing the Perimeters

    A candid survey on cybersecurity in state and local governments

  • The New IP: Moving Government Agencies Toward the Network of The Future

    Federal IT managers are looking to modernize legacy network infrastructures that are taxed by growing demands from mobile devices, video, vast amounts of data, and more. This issue brief discusses the federal government network landscape, as well as market, financial force drivers for network modernization.

  • eBook: State & Local Cybersecurity

    CenturyLink is committed to helping state and local governments meet their cybersecurity challenges. Towards that end, CenturyLink commissioned a study from the Government Business Council that looked at the perceptions, attitudes and experiences of state and local leaders around the cybersecurity issue. The results were surprising in a number of ways. Learn more about their findings and the ways in which state and local governments can combat cybersecurity threats with this eBook.


When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.