No, it's not a headline in the satirical Onion newspaper, but it could be. As reported by Steve Tetreault in the Las Vegas Review Journal, U.S. Representative John Shimkus (Republican-Illinois), chairman of the Environment and the Economy Subcommittee, plans to visit the shutdown, boarded up, fenced off Yucca Mountain Project site for the second time in four years.
His last visit in April 2011, on the Chernobyl nuclear catastrophe's 25th annual commemoration, cost U.S. taxpayers $15,000. But that's nothing compared to the $8 billion of ratepayer money, and $3 billion of taxpayer money, wasted at Yucca since the early 1980s.
Yucca dump advocates, like Shimkus, often adjust for inflation, and round up, to say $15 billion has been wasted at Yucca. But when they say "wasted," they mean because the project has been canceled. They would like to see another $100 billion or so spent there, to license, construct, open, and operate the dump.
As reported by the article: "“If Mr. Shimkus wants to come spend money in Nevada, then by all means,” Reid spokeswoman Kristen Orthman said. “But what he will find at Yucca Mountain is a boarded-up, closed facility. Yucca Mountain is dead and no amount of visits by Mr. Shimkus and the pro-Yucca fanatics will change that.”
Shimkus's support for one of nuclear lobbyists' top legislative priorities should come as no surprise, however. He is from the most nuclear powered state in the Union (see NEIS's "Nuclear Illinois" map). His district includes the Honeywell uranium conversion plant in Metropolis -- an essential step in the uranium fuel chain, and the only such facility in the U.S.