Think Yucca Mountain is a dead deal? Think again, for it just never seems to be.
In mid-June, a revival of the Yucca Mountain project seemed to be surfacing yet another time in the hall of the U.S. Congress.
Steve Tetreault, Washington D.C. correspondent for the Las Vegas Review-Journal wrote that as of that time a one-page summary of key provisions in a new resolution was reported by Environment & Energy Publishing. Proposed plans for more hearings in the House have been postponed until later this summer.
According to Tetreault, “The provisions appear to track the goals of House Republicans who have insisted that Yucca Mountain be part of the mix as Congress sets a new strategy to manage the growing inventory of highly radioactive spent nuclear fuel accumulating at commercial power plants.”
Once a centerpiece of the nation’s nuclear waste strategy before being derailed by President Obama in 2010, supporters still hope the site can be used to store thousands of canisters of nuclear waste in tunnels drilled deep within Yucca Mountain, plus constructing a vast network of places where above ground wastes could also be received, repackaged and put on storage pads until buried the mountain.
The new proposal is not much different from others that have already been reviewed, but this one “would grant a formal land withdrawal for construction to start at the Yucca site and the water rights necessary for the repository to be built. Efforts in Congress to overturn Nevada control over water could prove to be highly controversial. Bob Halstead, executive director of the Nevada Agency for Nuclear Projects has been quoted as saying, “This is a guarantee of lengthy litigation.”
Another part of the proposed legislation Tetrault notes, “would allow a license amendment so that the capacity of the Yucca Mountain repository could be expanded beyond its current 70,000 ton limit set by law.”
Not everyone in Nevada is opposed to the Yucca Mountain site being used for nuclear waste storage. Nye County Commissioner Dan Schinhofen has said he is “happy to do whatever we can to move this forward,” and he thinks this new resolution would help do that.