Yucca Mountain Nuclear Waste Repository Review Resumes Despite Obama’s Opposition

Patrick Frye - Author

Aug. 14 2013, Updated 10:40 a.m. ET

The Yucca Mountain nuclear waste removal review process will be resuming as ordered by a Federal judge.

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The Yucca Mountain nuclear waste removal site was chosen by Congress and signed by former President George W. Bush in 2002. The Yucca Mountain nuclear storage will be for high level radioactive waste. In 2009, President Obama slashed funding for the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste removal program and ordered a commission to find another site for storing spent radioactive fuel. The nuclear industry responded by contributing $35 billion to a Yucca Mountain nuclear waste fund. In 2010, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, led by Obama appointee Gregory Jaczko, stopped the review process.

The Energy Department had already begun the process of starting the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste removal program in 2008. The review by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission was supposed to be done by 2011 as required by the Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1982, which gives three years for a review.

When the Nuclear Regulatory Commission failed to comply with the law, a federal appeals court ordered the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste removal review to continue. The judges say the Nuclear Regulatory Commission “is simply defying a law enacted by Congress, and the Commission is doing so without any legal basis.” The court says the case revolves around whether the Federal executive branch, as headed by the President, should have the ability to disregard Federal statutes.

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If the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste removal program starts its work then around 70 million metric tons of highly radioactive waste will be from nuclear reactors from around the United States. In 2012, President Obama promised an interim nuclear storage facility but so far nothing has been built.

Do you think the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository should be allowed to be opened?


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