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Secretary Perry Pledges to Deal With Nuclear Waste Efficiently

Perry said he will have the hard conversations regarding the disposal of nuclear waste.

Energy Secretary Rick Perry said, at a Senate budget hearing on Thursday, that he will pursue policies that will effectively and efficiently deal with the national problem of nuclear waste.

“We have a moral and a national security obligation to come up with a long-term solution, finding the safest repositories available,” Perry told the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.

“We no longer can continue to kick the can down the road,” he declared.

President Trump’s Secretary of Energy said that 120 nuclear waste sites in 39 states currently hold nuclear waste, pointing out that many of the senators on the committee represent states storing nuclear waste.

Perry asked, on behalf of the Trump administration, for $120 million for the preparation of Yucca Mountain in Nevada for national storage of nuclear waste.

“Congress has spent $5 billion on the MOX Project that is way over budget and no end in sight. The Army Corps of Engineers estimates it costs us $17.2 billion and a 2048 completion date,” Perry said of current nuclear waste efforts.

The MOX Project, an initiative of the National Nuclear Security Administration, attempts to convert weaponized plutonium into “MOX fuel.” However, the program has come under fire for its decades-long delays and high costs.

The Bush administration supported storing nuclear waste in Yucca Mountain, but then-Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, supported by the succeeding Obama administration, killed the plan to dispose of spent nuclear material in Reid’s home state.