© Reuters. White House Proposes Reviving Yucca Mountain Nuclear Waste Site
By Timothy Gardner
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The White House fiscal 2018 budget plan for the US Department of Energy includes $ 120 million to restart licensing for Nevada’s Yucca Mountain nuclear waste landfill, a stalled project. for years by lawsuits and local opposition.
The move indicates that President Donald Trump may view the site as a solution to extend the life of existing US nuclear power plants that have been hampered by a lack of places to dispose of their spent nuclear fuel.
“These investments would accelerate progress in meeting the federal government’s obligations to address nuclear waste, improve national security and reduce the future burden on taxpayers,” according to a summary of the budget proposal.
Yucca Mountain has been studied by the United States government since the 1970s as a potential repository for the nation’s radioactive waste and billions of dollars have been spent on the project.
But it never opened its doors for business due to legal challenges and widespread opposition from local politicians, environmentalists, and Native American groups.
In 2010, then-President Barack Obama withdrew the license to store waste at Yucca amid opposition from then-Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a Democrat from Nevada.
Trump’s Energy Secretary Rick Perry, a former Texas Governor, told lawmakers at his confirmation hearing that restarting the Yucca Mountain project could not be ruled out, but that he would collaborate with the states.
“I am well aware that this is a problem that this country has been puzzling over for 30 years. We have spent billions of dollars on this issue,” Perry said at the January hearing. “I will work closely with you and the members of this committee to find the answers to this problem.”
The White House proposal for the Department of Energy budget calls for an overall 5.6 percent cut, which would include the elimination of some research programs.
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