Letter to Congress regarding GNEP Funding
National Academy of Sciences on GNEP
More than 40 national and local environmental, science and national security organizations this week sent a letter to Sens. Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.) and Pete Domenici (R-N.M.), urging them to eliminate funding for the Department of Energy’s Global Nuclear Energy Partnership (GNEP) plan for reprocessing spent nuclear fuel. The program, they wrote, “undermines U.S. nonproliferation policy, would cost taxpayers $100 billion or more, and â€¦ [would] not solve the nuclear waste problem.
Sens. Dorgan and Domenici are chairman and ranking minority member, respectively, of the Senate Energy and Water Appropriations Committee. The committee has tentatively approved $243 million of the $405 million the Bush administration requested for GNEP. The House already has approved $120 million. A final bill is expected sometime this fall.
The Bush administration maintains that the GNEP program will curb nuclear proliferation, but, according to the letter, “the program [already] has had the opposite effect.” Since the program’s inception, the letter points out, “eight countries have notified the International Atomic Energy Agency that they reserve the right to pursue enrichment and reprocessing technologies” that could be used to produce nuclear weapons.
Among the 47 organizations that signed the letter are the Arms Control Association, the Council for a Livable World, the Federation of American Scientists, Greenpeace, the Natural Resources Defense Council, Public Citizen, Physicians for Social Responsibility and the Union of Concerned Scientists.
GNEP also has come under fire from the National Academy of Sciences. Earlier this week, it published a report recommending that Congress scale back the program because it relies on unproven technology.