NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


March 2, 2009

President Obama has virtually zeroed out the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository's budget in 2010, leaving only enough for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to handle current licensing requests.  House and Senate Democrats have already cut funding for the remainder of fiscal 2009 to a paltry $288 million, the lowest in recent years.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who represents Nevada and is a longtime Yucca opponent, is ecstatic.  The budget cut is "a critical first step toward fulfilling his promise to end the Yucca Mountain project," Reid said in a statement.  "President Obama recognizes that the proposed dump threatens the health and safety of Nevadans and millions of Americans."

Yucca Mountain is not a "dump," and it is not unsafe, says Investor's Business Daily (IBD):

  • Situated about 100 miles northwest of Las Vegas, it is quite possibly the safest, most geologically stable and most studied place on the planet.
  • The Department of Energy has long studied the rock at the planned repository, assessing how the repository would perform over tens of thousands of years; after 20 years and $9 billion, DOE has found Yucca Mountain to be quite stable and safe.

Reid may not want it in his back yard, but he doesn't mind keeping America's nuclear waste where it is right now -- in everybody else's back yard, says IBD:

  • Vast numbers of spent nuclear fuel rods are now stored at more than 130 above-ground facilities in 39 states.
  • About 161 million Americans live within 75 miles of these existing sites.

We need the jobs nuclear power can provide, and we need the energy, says IBD:

  • The Energy Information Agency projects that by 2030 U.S. electricity demand will increase by 45 percent.
  • Since nuclear power currently supplies 20 percent, the United States will need to have 35 additional nuclear power plants just to meet future demand.

Source: Editorial, "Nuking Clean Power," Investor's Business Daily, February 28, 2009.


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