"The lack of a permanent home for the nation's radioactive waste is dampening prospects for a resurgence of the U.S. nuclear industry, federal commissioners said at their first public hearing on the subject.
The Energy Department set up the panel of former Congressmen, academics, and business leaders after deciding to scrap the long delayed Yucca Mountain nuclear waste dump in Nevada.
Commissioners said nuclear waste does not pose an immediate threat to the nation, but a plan on its disposal must be hatched to address the concerns average Americans have about expanding nuclear power.
"This is a major impediment to the development of new nuclear sites," said commissioner John Rowe, chief executive officer of power company Exelon Corp. "While we don't have to do anything quickly to keep the public safe, we do have to do something decisive to have public credibility."
Despite opposing the Yucca Mountain site, the Obama administration is pushing to expand the U.S. nuclear power industry, which has been stagnant since the 1970s. The White House budget proposal provides $54 billion in loan guarantees for new nuclear plants."