While the Senate, led by Reid, seeks to look beyond Yucca Mountain, the House wants to see the project through, citing the large investments already made.
“Billions of dollars, both public and private, have been invested in developing the storage facility at Yucca Mountain. We can’t just abandon this project,” U.S. Rep. Joe Barton, R-Ennis, said in a statement to The Texas Tribune. “The debate in Washington is more about politics, than practical science and it doesn’t look like a solution is coming soon.”
In the time it takes Congress to ultimately reach a consensus, turnover in state legislatures could mean that Texas or any other state that might ask host a site will change its mind.
Still, advocates of permanent storage say they will monitor discussions in Texas, hoping the talk will educate more people about a political standoff that’s costing U.S. taxpayers billions of dollars.
“Any interest outside the Beltway is positive,” said Everett Redmond, director of nonproliferation and fuel cycle policy at the Nuclear Energy Institute in Washington.
With the difficulties in mind, some — Barton included — have suggested permitting one or two centralized facilities to temporarily store the waste while Washington continues to wrangle over the long-term site. Such a plan would not solve the long-term disposal issue, but it would remove responsibility from electric generators and halt the lawsuits against the federal government.
Developing even a temporary site, however, could take as long as 10 years, Redmond said.
Texas lawmakers will also study the feasibility of bringing to the state an interim facility, which would store waste from around the country, according to Straus’ instructions.
“I would welcome one of those facilities in Texas, as long as the community welcomes it,” Barton said.
Neena Satija contributed to this report.
This article originally appeared in The Texas Tribune at http://www.texastribune.org/2014/02/12/strauss-puts-nuclear-waste-texas-lawmakers-agenda/.