Reid calls for Yucca budget cuts, not increases

Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., said Thursday the Department of Energy's budget request for Yucca Mountain should be cut, not increased.

The energy department is asking for $50 million more than last year for the nuclear dump project.

He told the Senate Appropriations subcommittee the $544 million budget for Fiscal Year 2007 is "bloated" especially in view of the numerous scientific problems at the site. Reid said those include a 2004 Court ruling which threw out EPA's radiation protection standards for Yucca because they were not strong enough to protect the public from radiation and failed to follow the recommendations of the National Academy of Sciences.

He said numerous scientific and quality assurance problems with transportation plans, corrosion of casks and other issues have caused the department to suspend work on the surface facilities and containers. In addition, he said DOE has revealed documents and models of water infiltration at Yucca Mountain have been falsified.

In response, he said, the administration has confirmed it is preparing a legislative package to remove health, safety and legal requirements - "a clear admission that the project is a public health, safety and scientific failure."

"It should be clear to anyone that the proposed Yucca Mountain project is not going anywhere. Yucca Mountain will never open," Reid told the subcommittee.


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