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 Home > News & Policies > February 2002

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
February 15, 2002

Yucca Mountain Statement
Statement by the Press Secretary

The President today notified the Congress that he considers Yucca Mountain qualified for a construction permit application, taking the next in a series of steps required for approving the site as a nuclear materials repository.

The President's decision to recommend Yucca Mountain is based on sound science.  It follows decades of scientific study and a determination by the Secretary of Energy that the site can be safely used to store these materials.  

In the course of making his decision, the President listened to the Governor, the State's Senators, and representatives of the people of Nevada and gave careful consideration to their views.  

He also consulted extensively with his science and environmental advisers to ensure that they concurred with the science, safety, and environmental conclusions of the Secretary's recommendation.

Finding a safe and central repository is not only mandated by law, but it is in America's national security and homeland security interests.  Forty percent of our Navy's fleet depends on nuclear power.  

Currently, nuclear materials are stored in 131 above-ground facilities in 39 states, and 161 million Americans live within 75 miles of these sites.  One central site provides more protection for this material than do the existing 131 sites.  

One out of every five times someone turns on a light switch, it's thanks to the fact that nuclear power produces 20 percent of our Nation's electricity.  Given the environmental benefits of nuclear power, a safe repository for nuclear materials will help us pursue our energy and environmental security goals.

Since the Congress passed a law requiring a repository in 1982, this has been a serious issue for the American people.  The President recognizes that the law now gives Nevada the opportunity to disapprove the recommendation and, if they do, then the Congress will have an opportunity to act.  After two decades, the time has come to resolve this issue once and for all.