Washington, D.C., September 13, 2011 — A deadlocked Nuclear Regulatory Commission vote may allow the Obama administration to move forward with its plans to scuttle the long-discussed Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository in Nevada.
The NRC's split vote of 2-2 would have decided whether to uphold or reject an earlier block on the repository's application. The earlier block, voted on in 2010, said the project's backers in the federal had not make a scientific case as to the repository's long-term safety and stability.
Upon taking office in 2009, President Barack Obama pledged to close Yucca Mountain while at the same time ordering the formation of a task force that would study the problem of storing the nation's spent nuclear waste safely.
NRC Chairman Gregory Jaczko, an Obama appointee, has worked since 2009 to close down Yucca Mountain. Nevada Sen. Harry Reid is another high profile opponent of the repository.
Yucca Mountain is located about 90 miles from Las Vegas, Nevada.