What’s the holdup at Yucca Mountain?
Among the most serious energy-related challenges facing the United States is what to do with waste generated at nuclear power plants, health care facilities and other users of radioactive materials. There is no place where the highly dangerous waste can be stored securely and safely over the long term.
There could be such a site, however. Years ago the government began planning a nuclear waste storage site at Yucca Mountain, Nev.
About $15 billion has been spent to prepare the site – but the project has ground to a halt. It was opposed by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., and has been killed, in essence, by President Barack Obama’s administration. In going along with Reid for political reasons, the White House is breaking the law.
The Yucca Mountain project is required by statute. Yet the Nuclear Regulatory Commission has held up required approval of the repository. At one point, the NRC’s former chairman, Gregory Jaczko was holding up the project without the knowledge of his fellow commissioners. Unfortunately, though he has been removed, the delays persist.
That is not acceptable, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia ruled last week. Judges there said the NRC is “simply flouting the law” by delaying work at Yucca Mountain.
An NRC spokesman reacted by saying the agency will review the court ruling.
What is there to review? The NRC, with White House support, is breaking the law. Congress, over Reid’s objection if necessary, should not allow that to continue.