Nuclear Power

Open the Yucca Mountain Nuclear Waste Repository

The Washington Post is right: "Put Yucca Mountain to work. The nation needs it."



Hurray for the editorial board at the Washington Post! On Sunday, they published a op-ed forthrightly urging Congress and the Trump administration to move forward on opening the long-stalled Yucca Mountain Nuclear Waste Repository in Nevada.

"It's past time the opposition was sidelined for good," the op-ed declares. "The nation's nuclear regulators have found that technical hurdles can be overcome; the biggest barriers to developing the site are political. Congress should re-fund Yucca Mountain and finally end this gratuitous fight."

More than 70,000 metric tons of spent nuclear fuel is being stored at nuclear power plants scattered across the countryside. It wasn't supposed to be that way. The plan was to send it all to the Yucca Mountain which was slated to open in 1998.

Since 1982, some $15 billion has been spent on preliminary study and work on the facility. Every environmental impact assessment has found that the repository would be safe for people and the environment. Opposed by environmental activists and the Nevada congressional delegation the facility was mothballed in 2010 by the Obama administration.

Now the Trump administration has asked congress to appropriate $120 million to restart the licensing process for the facility. In late June, the House Energy and Commerce Committee voted 49 to 4 on a bill that would move along the stalled Yucca Mountain approval process.

Next up: Trump should appoint Nuclear Regulatory Commission members who actually favor nuclear power and direct them to cut through the regulatory embellishments that are stymieing the development of new and safer nuclear power plants.