Energy nominee sidesteps Yucca project in Hill session

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Even though the Energy Department has spent $9 billion and more than 20 years developing the plan for a nuclear waste dump at Yucca Mountain, when asked by senators about the site, Chu said only that he would use sound science to find a long-term solution to the storage problem.

By sidestepping the issue and pointing to President-elect Barack Obama’s stated opposition to Yucca Mountain, Chu did more than simply avoid a thorny question during a confirmation hearing. He signaled the new direction Obama seems to be taking on the dump: It was as if Yucca Mountain did not exist.

“The Department of Energy has an obligation, a real obligation, to provide a plan that allows for the safe disposal of nuclear waste,” Chu testified. “We do need a plan of how to dispose of that waste safely over a long period of time.”

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