Yucca's Not Quite Dead Yet, but What's Plan B?

Aerial view of Yucca MountainIncreasingly, people are coming to the conclusion that the proposed nuclear waste dump at Yucca Mountain, Nevada might never open. Former Louisiana Senator J. Bennett Johnston, "the lawmaker perhaps most responsible" for advancing the plan for a permanent waste repository at Yucca, now says the "project should never have been billed as a place to hold waste indefinitely," reports Lisa Mascaro. Johnston admitted, "You can't absolutely prove with certainty what's going to happen in 10,000 or 100,000 years." The U.S. Department of Energy will soon "deliver its long-awaited application to license the site." The department currently projects "that Yucca could start accepting waste by 2020." Meanwhile, the Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI) industry group "has been quietly chatting with small, primarily rural communities to gauge their interest in hosting a temporary waste facility." Neither NEI nor Johnston "will admit that Yucca Mountain is dead ... but they would like to have a backup plan." For more on NEI, see CMD senior researcher Diane Farsetta's article in the June 2008 issue of The Progressive magazine, "Meet the Nuclear Power Lobby."