Waste creeps toward Yucca Mountain

  Nevada's Yucca Mountain is one step closer to becoming a temporary nuclear waste dump. Republicans rushed a bill to the Senate floor before the August break that would clear the way for shipping nuclear waste to Yucca Mountain as early as 1998 (HCN, 4/1/96). It passed in late July despite an attempted filibuster by Democratic Nevada Sens. Richard Bryan and Harry Reid.

The move is the latest effort by the nuclear industry to get rid of spent reactor fuel stored at nuclear power plants around the country. While the Department of Energy is considering Yucca Mountain as a possible site for a permanent repository, suitability studies have raised safety concerns.

Dump opponents think they have an ace in the hole: Bob Loux, of Nevada's Agency for Nuclear Projects, says Speaker Newt Gingrich could decide not to introduce the bill in the House since President Clinton has promised a veto.

* Greg Hanscom