WASHINGTON -- Rep. Dean Heller, R-Nev., on Tuesday said he supports nuclear energy as long as its highly radioactive waste is stored where it is produced.
Heller said he is not worried that more nuclear power plants could speed the development of a waste repository at Yucca Mountain, 100 miles northwest of Las Vegas, "as long as the waste is left on site."
"So as long as there is on-site waste -- they take care of the waste -- I'm fine with that," Heller said.
Heller was among 11 Republicans, including House Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, who traveled last weekend to Colorado and Alaska to inspect facilities that could help boost U.S. energy production.
Noting that his district covers 105,000 square miles, Heller said the trip reinforced his belief that U.S. energy policy should be like a three-legged stool.
The three legs include conservation, renewable energy and additional sources of energy that can be developed in an environmentally safe way.
"If you do one without the other two; you'll fail. If you do two of them without the third, you're going to fail. You have to do all three of them," Heller said.
But Heller said the technology isn't available yet to make renewable energy an option in the near future.
For example, after driving a hydrogen-powered car at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden, Colo., Heller said he was told the cost of the car is $1 million. He said the price was the same when he drove a hyrdogen-powered car five years ago.
"Renewable energy is critical in the future. We just don't see it moving so quickly, and I think that's why we have to make sure we think about all three (energy sources)," he said.
Heller said he is confident the House would pass legislation to allow off-shore drilling if House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., allowed it to come to the floor.
"I think that's why we haven't seen a vote," he said.
Heller also compared oil exploration to mining.
"I think you drill where the oil is," he said. "It's like the mining reform bill. They're trying to tell us where to mine for gold. You don't mine for gold where bureaucrats or some group tells you."