Mr. GARAMENDI. This particular section provides $700 million-plus for nuclear power research, various kinds. The chairman spoke to this issue a few moments ago.
The purpose of my amendment is to carve out of that $700 million-plus a sum of $20 million to restart America's program on recycling spent nuclear fuel. We currently call this spent nuclear fuel a ``waste'' when, in fact, it still possesses about 97 percent of the energy that was originally in the uranium and then processed once through the light water reactors. The purpose of the amendment is to restart.
In the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s, America undertook a program to close the nuclear fuel cycle. That was abandoned in 1994 after a successful effort to recycle and to use that energy that is found in the nuclear fuel. Unfortunately, now this spent nuclear fuel, which we call a ``waste product,'' is sitting at every reactor in the United States and mostly around the world, creating a significant hazard. We only need to think about Fukushima's little swimming pool that went dry and of the meltdown
that occurred at that point.
We need to recycle and completely use, or as much as possible completely use, the energy in these spent nuclear fuel pools. If we do so, we can do it in a way that significantly reduces the hazards and that significantly reduces the longevity of the problem from some 200,000 to some 300 years and create an enormous energy opportunity.
This is a beginning. There is a long path ahead of us, and we have to start on this immediately. That is the purpose of this. Unfortunately, it is going to be ruled out of order. However, in the future, as we move forward, I would hope that the committee and this House and the Senate deem fit to put this kind of program back into action.
With that, I yield back the balance of my time.
Mr. FRELINGHUYSEN. Mr. Chairman, I will insist on my point of order but would first make a few comments.
The gentleman's amendment prescribes a path forward for the back end of the nuclear energy fuel cycle by directing the Department of Energy to develop a specific type of reprocessing plan and facility, the integral fast reactor.
Let me say I appreciate our colleague from California's passion for moving forward our Nation's strategy for handling spent nuclear fuel, and I want to thank him for the many times he approached me on this issue. I and many of my colleagues share the gentleman's concerns, and I have repeatedly pushed the administration to move forward at least one piece of the solution, which is the Yucca Mountain repository. There is, however, ongoing debate about the future of the back end of our Nation's fuel
There are many approaches, including open, closed and modified fuel cycles. Each of these approaches--some of which utilize reprocessing facilities--are far from straightforward and can be accomplished using a variety of competing technologies. While I appreciate my colleague's desire to move the Nation forward, we must carefully evaluate these highly technical issues to address the economic safety and nonproliferation impacts that accompany any fuel cycle option. The gentleman's amendment chooses
one winning technology, and I believe it deserves more careful evaluation before moving forward.
POINT OF ORDER
Mr. FRELINGHUYSEN. Mr. Chairman, the amendment proposes to amend portions of the bill not yet read. The amendment may not be considered en bloc under clause 2(f) of rule XXI because of outlays in the bill.
I ask for a ruling from the Chair.
The Acting CHAIR. Does any Member wish to speak on the point of order?
Mr. GARAMENDI. I think the point of order is out of order. In fact, the issue before us is of utmost importance to this Nation--and indeed to the world--as more and more light water reactors are built.
The problem of spent fuel continues to mount and creates hazards. The United States did, in fact, figure out how to close the nuclear gap.
The Acting CHAIR. The gentleman needs to speak to the point of order.