While reading an article in the Morris Daily Herald titled Recycling decision delayed, not dead: DOE needs to study more before making decisions on nuclear recycling site I ran across the following passage that includes some troubling statements from Brian Quirke, of the U.S. Department of Energy
The environmental statement has a multitude of decisions to be made within it, in addition to whether to site one or two of the facilities at the GE spent fuel storage location at Morris, Quirke indicated.
The federal government makes decisions in several ways, including executive decision and congressional funding.
Quirke said decisions stemming from the PEIS are clearly those of the executive branch of government.
“So, the DOE and current administration of the United States are trying to carry out a decision-making process nationally and internationally about whether we should recycle spent fuel from commercial reactors,” he noted.
The issue has several hurdles to cross and questions to be answered. Primary among them is the benefit to recycling spent nuclear fuel, and its potential impact to the environmental.
Quirke noted the issue did not result from the 14,000 comments.
“The decision whether we should recycle has always been the most important decision being made, and the PEIS is part of that process, not the entirety of it,” he said.
The reason that I find the passage troubling is the position that the decision on whether or not to recycle used nuclear fuel is solely the province of the executive branch of government. That is exactly the same position that was taken in 1976, initially on a temporary basis by President Ford and later made permanent by President Carter. I will repeat here the request that I posted in response to the article:
Can anyone with a legal background tell me if the decision on whether or not to recycle slightly used nuclear fuel is really one that is the sole responsibility of the executive branch of government as Mr. Quirke asserted? It seems to me to be a question of interstate commerce, which is normally a topic where the legislative branch also has a strong voice.
I am very much in favor of recycling, reusing and reducing the use of all raw materials including the very valuable materials found in used nuclear fuel rods. I hate the idea that the process should be subject to political winds that change every four years.
Perhaps this is a job for someone with a real interest in restoring the Constitution as the basis for the role of the federal government and its various branches. Any thought would be welcome.