GOP seeks to revive Yucca project
Three Republican congressmen have served notice in a letter to the Office of Management and Budget that the battle over Yucca Mountain is far from over.
The letter by U.S. Reps. Mike Simpson of Idaho, Doc Hastings of Washington and Paul Ryan of Wisconsin requests a review of the decision by Nuclear Regulatory Commission Chairman Greg Jaczko to shut down the review of the Department of Energy’s application to license the nuclear waste dump 100 miles north of Las Vegas. They argue the issue is being litigated in federal court and that the Atomic Safety and Licensing Board rejected the Department of Energy’s motion to withdraw the license application.
“I am greatly concerned by the NRC chairman’s decision to unilaterally shut down the Yucca Mountain license application over the concern of other commissioners and Congress,” said Simpson in the letter.
It accused Jaczko of “ignoring sound science and strong congressional support in favor of partisan politics.”
Nuclear Projects Office Director Bruce Breslow said the letter is nothing new.
“The reason is simple: none of the other 49 states want nuclear waste in their state,” he said.
Breslow said President Obama has directed the Energy Department to administratively kill the project and there is no money in the budget to continue the fight.
“The Department of Energy doesn’t appear to have the money or the will to go forward,” Breslow said.
Nevada’s congressional delegation has uniformly opposed Yucca Mountain since it was proposed more than 20 years ago and, along with state officials, have successfully blocked attempts to move forward and open the dump.
Rep. Dean Heller, R-Nev., said he worked since his first day in Congress to block the project and will continue to do so no matter which party controls the House.
“However, one thing I have learned over the past few years is that support for Yucca Mountain has been a bipartisan issue in the House,” he said.
Heller said both parties have “relentlessly pushed for the project’s completion.”