Nuclear dump fight continues

> CARSON CITY, Nev. (The Associated Press) - Apr 29 - By BRENDAN RILEY
> Associated Press Writer
> While heartened by the Obama administration's opposition to a
> high-level nuclear waste dump at Nevada's Yucca Mountain, a state
> panel fighting the project was told Wednesday it can't let up on its
> efforts.
> "We really can't relent until we know for certain we've
> accomplished what we set out to do," Senior Deputy Attorney General
> Marta Adams told the state Nuclear Projects Commission.
> Adams said the proposed federal dump "is on its way to dying" but
> added the problem, "like a prisoner on death row, is now we've got
> endless appeals" aimed at keeping the federal Department of Energy
> project alive.
> The Bush administration had applied to the Nuclear Regulatory
> Commission for a construction and operating license. But President
> Obama's 2010 budget calls for scrapping all spending on Yucca Mountain
> except for what is needed to answer questions from the NRC on the
> license application "while the administration devises a new strategy
> toward nuclear waste disposal."
> Bruce Breslow, the state commission's new executive director,
> said he believes that given the Obama administration's stance on the
> dump "a political decision will lead to the licensing application
> being withdrawn before any hearing begins some time next year."
> But, Breslow added, the state must be "prepared to do battle in
> court"
> if need be to keep the project, which already has cost $13.5 billion,
> from moving forward.
> Bob Halstead, a longtime transportation consultant to the state
> commission, said the DOE in January released a plan for transporting
> the waste across the country, but added the plan is badly flawed.
> "Nowhere in the plan does DOE mention that spent nuclear fuel and
> high-level radioactive waste are dangerous," Halstead said in a report
> to the commission, adding that many train and truck shipments would
> come through the Las Vegas area.
> For two decades, Yucca Mountain has been the sole focus of
> government plans for storing the nuclear waste. But Obama's energy
> secretary, Steven Chu, said last month that Yucca Mountain is no
> longer viewed as an option for storing reactor waste.
> Instead, Chu said the nearly 60,000 tons of used reactor fuel can
> remain at nuclear power plants around the country while a new,
> comprehensive plan for waste disposal is developed.
> In 1982, Congress declared that the government has responsibility
> for reactor waste. Five years later, Congress passed what Nevada
> officials termed the "screw Nevada bill," which singled out Yucca
> Mountain as the only site to be considered for the waste dump.