Feds create million-year health standard for Yucca Mountain dump

The U.S. government has no plan for getting out of Iraq, balancing the budget, or repairing a hemorrhaging health-care system, but nuclear waste? It’s got that covered for the next million years. Yes, responding to a 2004 federal court ruling that the previous standard of 10 millennia was insufficient, the U.S. EPA has revised its plan for the proposed Yucca Mountain nuclear-waste dump in Nevada to account for earthquakes, climate change, and other potential upsets for an additional 990,000 years. The new standard has provoked outrage from Nevada politicians, including Sen. John Ensign (R), who said he was “appalled at the complete arrogance of the EPA in announcing these standards.” Maybe he’ll take comfort in recent news from Chernobyl: Though the region won’t be safe for human habitation for hundreds of thousands of years, animals and plants there appear to be thriving. It’s “evolution on steroids,” said one excited ecologist, “a fantastic experiment.”