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GOP Favors Yucca Mountain, But Are There Alternatives?

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Amy Harder, Energy and Environment Correspondent, National Journal

BY MARIE ANDRUSEWICZ -- A new federal agency would set up a temporary repository for nuclear waste while a more permanent solution is found. Conspicuously absent from the discussion? The storage facility at Yucca Mountain.

“It is the elephant in the room in this conversation,” says environmental reporter Amy Harder.

There’s a reason, of course, that Yucca is off the table.

“I am pleased that this is a bipartisan effort and I look forward to learning more about the legislation,” is what Sen. Harry Reid had to say about the new agency, according to Harder.

“It’s key that the legislation doesn’t present an opportunity for Yucca Mountain to come back into the conversation, because if that was the case, then Reid would not even give this bill a second look, and the sponsors of the bill know that,” says Harder.

Harder says nuclear energy faces obstacles both at the creation end and the disposal end of the production process. It’s both expensive to build new plants given how inexpensive natural gas is, and then of course no one is interested in storing nuclear waste.

Support comes from

“You have the problem of NIMBY-ism,” says Harder. “Las Vegas does not want a nuclear repository in its back yard.”

Harder says that a lack of interest in storing nuclear waste is a political stance that crosses party lines.

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