1981 Scorecard Vote
Derrick (D-SC) - Corcoran (R-IL) amendment to the fiscal year 1982 Energy and Water Development Appropriations bill to transfer $10 million in research money away from the privately owned Barnwell Nuclear Fuel Reprocessing Facility in South Carolina, and spend it on government nuclear waste research instead. The Barnwell plant was begun by private companies who wanted to reprocess spent fuel rods from nuclear power plants, in order to recover the uranium and plutonium, and use it again for power plants, breeder reactors or military purposes. Reprocessing is a very dangerous and dirty process. It produces toxic air pollutants, and large quantities of high level radioactive wastes which are more difficult to dispose of than the fuel rods themselves. It creates a substantial risk of accident and injury to workers and nearby residents.
The Barnwell plant hasn't been completed or licensed. The private companies involved have stopped investing their own money, and every year come to Congress for research grants. Their ultimate objective is to have the government take over the full $1 billion in funding needed to complete the plant. The Derrick amendment would have transferred the $10 million into government research to solidify and dispose of high level nuclear waste. Rejected 157-213; July 24, 1981. YES is the pro-environmental vote.