8:52 PM EDT
Paul C. Broun Jr., M.D., R-GA 10th

Mr. BROUN of Georgia. Mr. Chairman, I rise in support of Mr. Shimkus' and Mr. Inslee's amendment, and I congratulate them on bringing this very important amendment to the floor in this appropriations bill.

Just across the Savannah River from my district is the Savannah River site. I've been over there very many times, and I am very concerned about the storage of nuclear materials that are there on the site, and that's happening all over this country. We hear people talk about this as nuclear waste, but I don't view it that way. In fact, there is a tremendous amount of energy in the fuel rods and in the nuclear material that's being stored at facilities all over this country. We just don't know

how to utilize it, and we're just beginning that process.

Some of these fast reactors, small modular reactors, would burn up a lot of this nuclear material and would provide energy that is drastically needed. Yet, Mr. Chairman, one man from Nevada--a staffer, who left from being on staff in the U.S. Senate and went to the administration--has, what I consider to be, illegally closed up Yucca Mountain. This administration has illegally closed up Yucca Mountain.

This facility has been studied at great lengths. I'm on the Science, Space, and Technology Committee, and am the Subcommittee chairman for Investigations and Oversight. We've looked at this. We've had hearings. In fact, I just recently had a group of people from our local area, the Augusta area--and North Augusta, in the South Carolina area of Aiken County, where SRS is--testify about what's going on and about Yucca Mountain.

It is critical that we as a Congress do what the law requires. We need a central repository. We need somewhere we can store this material, not as waste, but we need a repository so that this material can be set in a safe, scientifically studied area that won't harm anybody. Yucca fits all of those categories. It's the only place in this country that does. We can store this material until we can utilize it.

We need to be energy independent as a Nation. Nuclear energy is going to be one of the keys of an all-of-the-above energy policy. We, on our side, have been fighting for that, and I know some Democrats are very supportive of nuclear energy, as I am. I am an ardent supporter of nuclear energy, and I think it's absolutely critical in order for us to go forward. Yucca Mountain has to be a part of that formula, and we cannot close it up. We've spent billions of taxpayer dollars on this facility.

One man, because he doesn't want it in his backyard, has prompted this administration to close it up. We've got to open it up.

So I congratulate Mr. Inslee and particularly my dear friend John Shimkus from Illinois for bringing this amendment to the floor. We need to support it. We need to have a vote on it so that we can show how important this is to Members of Congress. I congratulate them, and I wholeheartedly support it, and hope other Members of Congress will support it, too.

I yield back the balance of my time.