Obama's Budget Ends Spending for Yucca Nuclear Waste Facility

Date: January 1, 2010

Source: News Room

The President's new budget calls for an end to funding the controversial Yucca Mountain nuclear repository. In addition, the Department of Energy (DOE) has filed a "stay" of its license application for the facility, and plans to withdraw the application completely within 30 days. Consequently, Energy Secretary Steven Chu has appointed a 15-member commission to find alternative solutions for nuclear waste storage. It is now up to Congress whether to abandon the nearly 30 year old project. Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV), who has been a long time critic of Yucca, was quick to hail the decision as "good news for Nevada and the nation." Already, the White House, in conflict with DOE's Secretary Chu, slashed the facility's budget last year from $288 million to $197 million. Questions remain about how the program can be eliminated while Yucca Mountain is still by law the nation's repository for nuclear waste and whether the government could face billions of dollars in liability payments. Under DOE's contract with utilities, the federal government was supposed to have started taking spent fuel from power plants by 1998. So far, utilities have recovered from the government more than $7 billion for the partial breach of contract.

Senator Harry Reid, "Yucca Mountain Funds Eliminated, Application Withdrawn," (reid.senate.gov/newsroom/020110_yucca.cfm).

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