Yucca Mountain Reopening?

by John McClaughry

Thirty years ago Congress attempted to deal with the problem of storing nuclear waste.  The key provision of the act they passed required states to “take title” and assume liability for waste generated within their borders if they failed to comply with waste management specified rules. In 1985 the Supreme Court held that the federal government could not mandate that states take title to anything.

In the aftermath of the decision Congress took responsibility for creating a nuclear waste repository. The facility was started at Yucca Mountain, Nevada, on a former nuclear test site.  But the Obama administration, spurred on by Senate Democratic majority leader Harry Reid of Nevada, shut down construction in 2011. There it sits, having absorbed at least $15 billion in federal tax dollars, while spent fuel rods are stored in concrete casks at the sites of the nuclear reactors until the Federal government can get its act together. Incidentally, the Federal government has been storing spent fuel rods from military nuclear reactors  in New Mexico for forty years, with never an incident, and nobody cares in the least about that.

Well, in a month  Obama is gone and Reid is gone. Trump and the Republican Congress are highly likely to open the Yucca Mountain facility and start storing the fuel rods there.  That will mean moving the concrete casks from Vermont to Nevada, leaving Vermont with one less thing to try to tax.

– John McClaughry is vice president and founder of the Ethan Allen Institute.


{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Milton Eaton December 18, 2016 at 11:23 pm

Yucca Mountain in a nuclear test range is so perfect for this use that Japanese I have sent to the location complain that we set the standard for storage to high – beyond anyplace in Japan. One improvement is the storage so that fuel rods can be removed for reprocessing if that ever becomes economic. Don’t get me started on Harry Reid.


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