Yucca Nuclear Waste Plan Mushrooms in Nevada Race

Dems weigh in as local issue goes national
By Jonas Oransky,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 16, 2008 12:57 PM CST
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nev., left, accompanied by Sen. John Ensign, R-Nev., testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Oct. 31, 2007, before a Senate Environment and Public Works...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Yucca Mountain’s future as a nuclear waste burial ground is central to US energy policy—but first, the site north of Las Vegas has a key role in Saturday's Nevada Democratic primary. Despite environmentalists’ newfound respect for nuclear fuel, candidates are required to pledge opposition to the 30-year-old plan, Bloomberg reports, which would store spent fuel in an extinct volcano.

The primary calendar is conducive to letting local issues affect major policy: Just as Iowans won promises on ethanol subsidies, Nevadans have extracted opposition to the Yucca storage plan—on which $11 billion has already been spent—from the Clinton, Obama, and Edwards camps. In this, the candidates reflect more closely Silver State politics than the latest thinking on nuclear power’s green credentials.