Sen. Murkowski says Hanford could nudge lawmakers on Yucca nuclear waste site

Hanford Vitrification Plant

Plans for a nuclear waste disposal site at Nevada’s Yucca Mountain were scuttled in 2010, but Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) says the leaking waste storage containers at the Hanford nuclear reservation in Washington state may have reopened the issue, The Hill reports.

Republicans have long insisted that any national nuclear waste disposal scheme include the Yucca Mountain site as the country’s long-term waste storage facility, per a 1982 law. President Obama shelved plans for the disposal site in 2010 amid an impasse between Republican and Democratic lawmakers, notably Yucca opponent and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev).

In February, six leaking nuclear waste storage containers were found at the Hanford site, a nuclear munitions facility dating to 1943 and the Manhattan Project. Cleanup of the Hanford site has already gone far over budget and the ongoing gridlock over a national long-term nuclear waste disposal system has made fully cleaning up Hanford impossible. The Washington Post also reported that the U.S. Department of Energy will lay off about 235 workers from the site, and 2,500 others will be furloughed for several weeks due to the recent budget cuts.

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