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Yucca Mountain Ruled out as Nuclear Waste Site

March 6, 2009

Energy Secretary Steven Chu has announced that the proposed Yucca Mountain site in Nevada is no longer an option for storing highly radioactive nuclear waste. Chu said the Obama administration believes the nearly 60,000 tons of waste in the form of used reactor fuel can remain at nuclear power plants while a new, comprehensive plan for waste disposal is developed. For over two decades, a ridgeline of volcanic rock 90 miles northwest of Las Vegas has been the focus of the government's plans to build an underground repository for high-level reactor waste.

Despite the $13.5 billion that has been spent on the project, the Obama administration says it's going in a different direction. Last year the Bush administration submitted an application for a construction and operating license to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. But President Barack Obama's first budget a week ago proposes scrapping all spending on Yucca Mountain except for what is needed to answer questions from the NRC on the license application.