AP: President Barack Obama is taking the first step toward blocking a nuclear waste dump at Nevada's Yucca Mountain by slashing money for the program in his first budget, according to congressional sources.Alternatives will be reviewed:
Obama's budget to be announced Thursday will eliminate virtually all funding for the Yucca project with the exception of money needed for license applications submitted last year to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
"The Yucca Mountain program will be scaled back to those costs necessary to answer inquiries from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission while the administration devises a new strategy toward nuclear-waste disposal," the Energy Department will say as part of the budget document, said the sources, who asked not to be identified because the document had not been made public.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada, who has fought the Yucca dump for years, said Obama's decision to cut funding "represents our most significant victory to date in our battle to protect Nevada from becoming the country's toxic wasteland."
Obama is expected to establish a commission to examine alternatives to Yucca Mountain, even as the Nuclear Regulatory Commission continues to consider the license application for the waste repository that was submitted by the Bush administration last year.
Energy Secretary Steven Chu has said he has no plans to withdraw the license application, a move that could draw lawsuits from the nuclear industry.
The NRC has up to four years to review the application. The Bush administration had hoped to have the Yucca dump available for waste shipments in 2020.