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Secretary Chu Announces Blue Ribbon Commission on America’s Nuclear Future

January 29, 2010 - 12:57pm

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As part of the Obama Administration’s commitment to restarting America’s nuclear industry, U.S. Secretary of Energy Steven Chu today announced the formation of a Blue Ribbon Commission on America’s Nuclear Future to provide recommendations for developing a safe, long-term solution to managing the Nation’s used nuclear fuel and nuclear waste. The Commission is being co-chaired by former Congressman Lee Hamilton and former National Security Advisor Brent Scowcroft.

In light of the Administration’s decision not to proceed with the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository, President Obama has directed Secretary Chu to establish the Commission to conduct a comprehensive review of policies for managing the back end of the nuclear fuel cycle. The Commission will provide advice and make recommendations on issues including alternatives for the storage, processing, and disposal of civilian and defense spent nuclear fuel and nuclear waste.

“Nuclear energy provides clean, safe, reliable power and has an important role to play as we build a low-carbon future. The Administration is committed to promoting nuclear power in the United States and developing a safe, long-term solution for the management of used nuclear fuel and nuclear waste. The work of the Blue Ribbon Commission will be invaluable to this process. I want to thank Congressman Hamilton and General Scowcroft for leading the Commission and I look forward to receiving their recommendations,” said Secretary Chu.

“As the world moves to tackle climate change and diversify our national energy portfolio, nuclear energy will play a vital role,” said Carol Browner, Assistant to the President for Energy and Climate Change. “Today, the Obama Administration has taken an important step. With the creation of the Blue Ribbon Commission, we are bringing together leading experts from around the country to ensure a safe and sustainable nuclear energy future.”

"Finding an acceptable long-term solution to our used nuclear fuel and nuclear waste storage needs is vital to the economic, environmental and security interests of the United States," said Congressman Hamilton. "This will be a thorough, comprehensive review based on the best available science. I'm looking forward to working with the many distinguished experts on this panel to achieve a consensus on the best path forward."

“As the United States responds to climate change and moves forward with a long overdue expansion of nuclear energy, we also need to work together to find a responsible, long-term strategy to deal with the leftover fuel and nuclear waste," said General Scowcroft. "I'm pleased to be part of that effort along with Congressman Hamilton and such an impressive group of scientific and industry experts."

The Commission is made up of 15 members who have a range of expertise and experience in nuclear issues, including scientists, industry representatives, and respected former elected officials. The Commission’s co-chairs have a record of tackling tough challenges in a thoughtful, comprehensive manner and building consensus among an array of interests.

The Commission will produce an interim report within 18 months and a final report within 24 months.

The members of the Blue Ribbon Commission are: 

Lee Hamilton, Co-Chair

Lee Hamilton represented Indiana's 9th congressional district from January 1965-January 1999. During his time in Congress, Hamilton served as the ranking member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, and chaired the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. He is currently president and director of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, and director of The Center on Congress at Indiana University.

He is a member of the President's Intelligence Advisory Board and the President's Homeland Security Advisory Council. Previously, Hamilton served as Vice Chairman of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States (the 9/11 Commission).

Brent Scowcroft, Co-Chair

Brent Scowcroft is President of The Scowcroft Group, an international business advisory firm. He has served as the National Security Advisor to both Presidents Gerald Ford and George H.W. Bush. From 1982 to 1989, he was Vice Chairman of Kissinger Associates, Inc., an international consulting firm.

Scowcroft served in the military for 29 years, and concluded at the rank of Lieutenant General following service as the Deputy National Security Advisor. Out of uniform, he continued in a public policy capacity by serving on the President's Advisory Committee on Arms Control, the Commission on Strategic Forces, and the President's Special Review Board, also known as the Tower Commission.

  • Mark Ayers, President, Building and Construction Trades Department, AFL-CIO
  • Vicky Bailey, Former Commissioner, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission; Former IN PUC Commissioner; Former Department of Energy Assistant Secretary for Policy and International Affairs
  • Albert Carnesale, Chancellor Emeritus and Professor, UCLA
  • Pete V. Domenici, Senior Fellow, Bipartisan Policy Center; former U.S. Senator (R-NM)
  • Susan Eisenhower, President, Eisenhower Group
  • Chuck Hagel, Former U.S. Senator (R-NE)
  • Jonathan Lash, President, World Resources Institute
  • Allison Macfarlane, Associate Professor of Environmental Science and Policy, George Mason University
  • Dick Meserve, Former Chairman, Nuclear Regulatory Commission
  • Ernie Moniz, Professor of Physics and Cecil & Ida Green Distinguished Professor, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Per Peterson, Professor and Chair, Department of Nuclear Engineering, University of California - Berkeley
  • John Rowe, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Exelon Corporation
  • Phil Sharp, President, Resources for the Future

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