|Suddenly, Yucca Mountain is being discussed again. Officials in South Carolina are in favor of it and 28 other states with nuclear reactors are also in favor of finishing the Yucca Mt. Nuclear Storage Site.|
The notion of protecting Yucca Mountain enjoyed powerful Washington allies for years, notably Sen. Harry Reid of Nevada, the Senate Democratic leader from 2005 until January, and President Barack Obama. But Obama is no longer the president, Reid is no longer a senator and Democrats do not control Congress or the White House.
Secretary of Energy-designate Rick Perry, who has implied he will consider reopening the process to use Yucca Mountain as a solution to a decades-old problem. U.S. taxpayers have already paid $3.7 billion to develop the site to date. South Carolina electricity customers have paid another $1.3 billion in fees intended to pay for operating a national disposal site, and customers in other states with nuclear power production have paid billions more.
The U.S. Department of Energy should at least complete the licensing process for Yucca Mountain to avoid South Carolina becoming a dumping ground for nuclear waste before pursuing an alternative that will cost billions of dollars and will take decades to complete.
Without a disposal site, more and more irradiated waste will pile up around reactors across the nation. There are an estimated 4,500 tons of spent nuclear fuel in temporary storage in South Carolina from commercial reactors.