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Yucca no more

Yucca no more

Yucca no more



Budget plan would end nuclear storage at Yucca
President Obama won't allow radioactive waste to be buried at Yucca Mountain in Nevada, rejecting the long-controversial project after 20 years of planning at a cost of at least $9 billion.

Obama and Energy Secretary Steven Chu "have been emphatic that nuclear waste storage at Yucca Mountain is not an option, period," said department spokeswoman Stephanie Mueller. The budget plan Obama released yesterday "clearly reflects that commitment," she said.

"The new administration is starting the process of finding a better solution for management of our nuclear waste," she said in an e-mail.

The decision leaves unresolved a long-term plan for nuclear waste, primarily from power plants, even as utilities seek to build more reactors.

Under the disputed proposal, nuclear waste from reactors around the nation was to be shipped to Yucca Mountain, 100 miles northwest of Las Vegas, to be stored in tunnels 1,000 feet underground. The Energy Department had plans to bury more than 109,000 metric tons.

Radioactive waste is now spread among more than 120 sites in 39 states, according to the Energy Department. There are 104 operating commercial reactors in the United States, and 17 applications are pending at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to build 26 more reactors.

Obama's plan would not curtail work on new reactors, said Steve Kerekes, a spokesman for the Nuclear Energy Institute, which represents the industry.

Nevada opponents and environmental groups have filed lawsuits seeking to block the storage project on grounds that Yucca Mountain could be subject to earthquakes and that transporting waste across 43 states would create a hazard and a potential target for terrorists.

Under Obama's budget plan, the administration would devise a new strategy on waste. Spending on Yucca would be limited to the costs of meeting a legal requirement to process an application that former President George W. Bush submitted in June. The Energy Department didn't meet a contractual obligation to take possession of nuclear waste by 1998, and has been found liable in court to claims by utilities for compensation for storing it
That sounds like pretty big news.  Not just Obama but the new energy guy rule out further work on Yucca mountain.

Vague references toward working toward a new plan.... any ideas what that would be ?  Any idea how much further funding is allocated in the spending bill toward that end?

One would think it would be a political challenge to license any new reactors in absence of some viable plan.

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RE: Yucca no more

Quite a few more links here, including one near the upper right showing congressional research service report on alternatives to Yucca mountain.

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