Congressman Greg Walden

Representing the 2nd District of Oregon

Greg Walden shepherds nuclear waste policy reform through House

May 10, 2018
Press Release

Greg Walden shepherds nuclear waste policy reform through House

Legislation will establish permanent storage location for nuclear waste currently at Hanford Site

Click here or on the image above to view Walden’s speech on the House floor

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Rep. Greg Walden (R-Hood River) today helped shepherd nuclear waste policy reform through the House of Representatives. The Nuclear Waste Policy Amendments Act (H.R. 3053) originated in the House Energy and Commerce Committee -- where Walden serves as Chairman -- and passed the House by a strong bipartisan vote of 340-72 today.

In a speech on the floor of the House of Representatives, Walden said this legislation will be important for cleanup efforts at the Hanford Site, and communities across the country where nuclear waste sits idle. 

“The Department of Energy’s Hanford Site, just up the mighty Columbia River from where I live and where I grew up, helped us win World War II and the site’s nuclear program was instrumental in projecting peace through strength throughout the Cold War. While the community has been a constructive partner in support of our vital national security missions, it did not agree to serve as a perpetual storage site for the resulting nuclear waste,” said Walden. 

“56 millions of gallons of this toxic waste are sitting in decades-old metal tanks at Hanford -- like the ones pictured here. The amount of waste stored at Hanford could fill the entire House Chamber 20 times. According to a recent GAO report, the oldest of these tanks, some of which date back to the 1940s, have single-layer walls, or shells; and were built to last about 20 years. They will be almost 100 years old by the estimated end of waste treatment. The Department of Energy has reported that 67 of these tanks are assumed or are known to have leaked waste into the soil. There is an understandable sense of urgency behind the cleanup efforts underway at Hanford.”

Walden has led the effort to clean up spent nuclear fuel that is sitting in 121 communities across 39 states throughout the country, including at the Hanford Site. The Nuclear Waste Policy Amendments Act passed the Energy and Commerce Committee by a vote of 49-4 in June of 2017. 

This legislation provides practical reforms to the nation’s nuclear waste management policy, and reinstates Yucca Mountain as the cornerstone of the country’s nuclear waste disposal. Walden said today that moving forward with this legislation will have broad benefits for the country as a whole.

“At the end of the day, this bipartisan legislation is good for communities around the country and their safety, good for consumers and fiscal sanity, good for the environment for secure storage, good for taxpayers, and good for our national security as well,” said Walden. “Let’s put an end to these tanks, before they put an end to us.”

To read more about the Nuclear Waste Policy Amendments Act, please click here.