DOE official says nuclear waste deal impossible with Yucca

Yucca Mountain DOE nuclear waste deal Department of Energy

A senior official with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has said that the focus on Yucca Mountain as a long-term nuclear waste storage site is preventing a final deal from being reached, The Hill reports.

“I want to see progress,” said the DOE’s assistant secretary for nuclear energy, Peter Lyons, during a hearing of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Energy and Water. “And in my view, I don’t believe we will see that progress if we continue to force Yucca Mountain on Nevada.”

The gridlock over Yucca comes down to a stark partisan divide, with Republicans, who control the House, vowing to prevent any nuclear waste storage arrangement that does not include the site. The Democrats, led by chief Yucca opponent and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, are unlikely to support any nuclear waste bill that includes Yucca. Reid played a leading role in President Obama’s 2009 decision to stop work on the Yucca waste storage facility.

Lyons, who is a native of Nevada, said lawmakers should “cut our losses and move ahead” without Yucca, suggesting opposition to the facility is a political necessity for Nevada politicians, The Hill reports.

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