They're Still Talking About Yucca Mountain


Karoun Demirjian, Washington Correspondent, Las Vegas Sun

BY IAN MYLCHREEST -- Members of the House Energy Committee are talking up the possibilities of re-starting Yucca Mountain as the nation’s high-level nuclear waste repository. And they were at it again last week, just before Congress headed home for its summer recess.

The talk was prompted by moves in the United States Senate to turn recommendations from the blue-ribbon commission created to find a new repository site into action. The commission was created by the administration after it took funding away from Yucca Mountain.

The plans are somewhat vague, but suggest that the government should find a willing taker for the nation’s high-level nuclear waste rather than simply dumping it on Nevada.

“But there’s pushback coming from these Republicans because we’ve already dumped money into a hole, this hole, so let’s just push forward because it’s the law and really, how are we going to get anyone else to volunteer?” says Las Vegas Sun Washington Correspondent Karoun Demirjian. The prospects for a second site are dim, they think, if there’s been so much trouble with Nevada.

Many Congressmen have never given up on Yucca Mountain because the law specifically names Yucca Mountain as the site of the repository and the law is unchanged even if the project is unfunded.

Support comes from

The administration argues that Yucca will not provide sufficient storage, so a new start is needed. Many are saying that Yucca is not the only choice but has to be part of a choice. Still, no state has volunteered as the blue-ribbon commission envisaged.

The blue-ribbon commission’s plan has been written into law but it is barely on the Senate’s agenda, let alone have much chance in the House. In both houses, they insist on a real, not a theoretical, site for waste disposal.

Congressman John Shimkus, R-Ill., is echoing some voices in Nye County who have long argued that there is real money to be made in waste disposal and the county is ready for both the jobs and the federal largesse. Shimkus is now talking about $5.6 billion going to Nevada but the congressional delegation is showing no interest in taking the money.

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