As reported by KTVN of Reno, Nevada, today the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission -- by the narrowest of margins -- approved an order mandating that its Atomic Safety and Licensing Board conclude and close out all Yucca Mountain repository proceedings by the end of the fiscal year -- September 30, 2011. This is a major victory for opponents of the Yucca dump, as celebrated by U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (Democrat-Nevada), who has devoted his quarter century long Senate career to blocking the dump. Yucca Mountain, a sacred site belonging to the Western Shoshone Indian Nation as acknowledged by the Treaty of Ruby Valley, signed by the U.S. government in 1863, has been the sole target of the nuclear establishment for a national high-level radioactive waste dump since the "Screw Nevada" bill of 1987. More than $10 billion of ratepayer and taxpayer money has been wasted on the project.
As the title implies, E&E's article "Nuclear waste: Confusion reigns in wake of deadlocked NRC's Yucca vote," paints a much more murky picture of what Friday's 2-2 split decision amongst the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commissioners means for Yucca's future. Yucca dump proponents, from NRC Commissioner Ostendorff to U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) and the Nuclear Energy Institute, view the tied NRC vote as a new lease on life for the dump, while Senate Majority Leader Reid portrays it as yet another nail in the dump's coffin lid.