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It appears that President-elect Obama will keep his promise to Nevada to kill the proposed Yucca Mountain nuclear waste dump because his Energy Secretary nominee, Dr. Steven Chu, is firmly opposed to the storage of at least 77,000 tons of highly toxic nuclear waste in the Silver State.
We well remember how President Bush betrayed Nevada early in his presidency by approving the Yucca Mountain site despite electoral promises to base his decision on “sound science.” By contrast, Energy Secretary in-waiting Chu, a Nobel Prize-winning physicist who directs the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, recognizes that Yucca Mountain falls short of federal safety standards and that it’s dangerous to store all of the nation’s nuclear waste at one site.
In a 2005 interview, Chu said that the Southern Nevada site would be filled up with waste from all existing civilian and military nuclear waste as soon as it opens its doors. “So we need three or four Yucca Mountains,” he said on a UC-Berkeley Web site. “The other thing is that storing the fuel at Yucca Mountain is supposed to be safe for 10,000 years… (but) the metal casings will probably fail on a scale of 5,000 years.” So much for safety and “sound science