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Biden administration promises progress on nuclear waste

Escape From Yucca Mountain: Biden Administration Promises Progress on Nuclear Waste

Energy Department expects to announce next steps in coming months, WSJ, By Gabriel T. Rubin, May 14, 2021

THE ENERGY DEPARTMENT TAKES ON the politically radioactive issue of nuclear-waste disposal, which the past several administrations have tried and failed to resolve. The only federally designated long-term disposal site for waste from the nuclear power industry is at Yucca Mountain in Nevada (there is also a site near Carlsbad, N.M., for waste generated by the government’s nuclear weapons program). But sustained political pushback from Nevada officials has prevented the Yucca Mountain site from becoming operational. It’s a top issue for Nevada Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, who Mr. Biden considered picking as his running mate and who is up for re-election next year.

Ms. Cortez Masto has extracted promises from Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm that Yucca Mountain won’t be part of the administration’s planning for nuclear-waste disposal. But Ms. Granholm seems eager to still make progress on the issue, telling a House Appropriations panel last week that she anticipated announcing the department’s next steps “in the coming months.” Former President Donald Trumptried to restart the process, but after an outcry from Nevadans he reversed himself—tweeting, “Nevada, I hear you on Yucca Mountain”—and promised “innovative solutions” that didn’t come to fruition.

 In a letter this month to Ms. Granholm, the American Nuclear Society and other industry groups urged her to establish an office to be the “focal point” of engagement on the waste issue with Congress and outside stakeholders. Congress appropriated money for such an office in its year-end funding deal in December. The office also would coordinate with the private sector on interim storage facilities.

n hopes of preventing presidents present and future from unilaterally establishing a Yucca Mountain-type plan, all the Democratic members of the Nevada congressional delegation co-sponsored legislation in March that would require the federal government to first receive permission from the governor and local officials before moving nuclear waste into a state

It’s anyone’s guess how concrete the Energy Department’s next steps might be ….(subscribers only)


May 15, 2021 - Posted by | politics, USA, wastes

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