The U.S. government will continue development of the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste depository in Nevada despite a recent court ruling requiring the U.S. government to increase safeguards against nuclear leaks, Reuters reported today (see GSN, June 10).
“We are still on track toward submitting a license application in December of this year, and opening the repository and beginning waste acceptance in 2010,” Deputy Energy Secretary Kyle McSlarrow said during a Senate Energy Committee Hearing.
The U.S. Court of Appeals last week blocked Nevada’s efforts to stop plans to store 77,000 tons of nuclear power and defense waste at the facility. The court, however, ruled that the Bush administration had ignored National Academy of Sciences safety recommendations and must provide safeguards against radiation leaks that could peak in 300,000 years, Reuters reported.
It would be “impossible” to provide protection over 300 millennia, said Senator Pete Domenici (R-N.M.) (Reuters/CNN.com, July 15).