From: Ayesha Rascoe, Reuters
Published March 25, 2010 06:00 AM

Ditch Yucca Mountain? Not so fast say some lawmakers

The U.S. Energy Department's push to scrap a long-planned national nuclear waste dump in Nevada has run into stiff opposition as lawmakers on Wednesday questioned the Obama administration's decision.

A bipartisan group of lawmakers unveiled a resolution of disapproval in the House of Representatives on Tuesday aimed at making the department stop efforts to shelve the project and maintain all records relating to the proposed storage site.


Lawmakers on a House Appropriations subcommittee grilled Energy Secretary Steven Chu about plans to cancel the repository at Yucca Mountain.

These moves may signal trouble for the administration's pledge to scrap the Yucca site, fiercely opposed in Nevada and by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid who represents the state.

A panel of experts that the administration named to devise a strategy for handling nuclear waste has been preparing to hold its first public meetings on Thursday and Friday.

The administration this month asked the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) to withdraw the license application to build the site. The decision leaves 2,000 metric tons of used fuel produced each year by U.S. nuclear plants with no permanent home.

"Keeping waste scattered across the country ... is no longer an option," Representative Jay Inslee, a Democrat from Washington state, said in a statement. "We have a solution to this problem and we must move forward."

Several influential members of the House have signed on to Inslee's resolution, including Democratic Representative John Spratt, chairman of the House Budget Committee.

"I will do all I can to make sure some funding goes to defend the Yucca Mountain license application this year," Spratt said in a statement.

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