Is an NRC license application around the corner?
Mark Hand is senior editor at Public Utilities Fortnightly.
Less than a year after the Bush administration offered the nuclear industry several words of encouragement in its national energy policy plan, the industry won a second opportunity to smile when Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham in January formally embraced Nevada's Yucca Mountain, about 80 miles from Las Vegas, as the underground repository for thousands of tons of high‑level nuclear waste from across the country. Although it was a widely anticipated decision, given the energy policy objectives drawn up by Vice President Cheney's energy task force, the official word that the Energy Department would recommend the site still brought cheer to an industry that for years vigorously has fought for a central nuclear waste site.
"With nearly two decades of exhaustive analysis to support this action, the impending recommendation to the president that Yucca Mountain is a suitable site to build a state‑of‑the‑art nuclear waste management facility is the right scientific thing to do," said Joe Colvin, president and CEO of the Nuclear Energy Institute, the nuclear power industry's main lobbying group.