Tuesday, July 13, 2004

Court Decision Won't Stop Yucca Mountain

The Bush administration is forging ahead with their plans to store 77,000 tons of radioactive material with a halflife of 300,000 years in Nevada despite a ruling that safeguards at the Yucca Mountain storage facility are inadequate.

The Bush administration will proceed with a plan to build a nuclear waste site in Nevada this year despite a court decision ordering it to prevent radiation leaks for more than 10,000 years, a senior Energy Department official said on Tuesday.

Critics of the project, including Senate Minority Whip Harry Reid of Nevada, say this recent federal court ruling could permanently derail a plan to build a massive underground storage depot beneath Yucca Mountain about 90 miles northwest of Las Vegas.
The administration said, however, that it does not intend to slow down.

``We are still on track toward submitting a license application in December of this year, and opening the repository and beginning waste acceptance in 2010,'' Deputy Energy Secretary Kyle McSlarrow told a Senate Energy Committee hearing on nuclear energy.