Yucca Mountain Provokes Yet More Controversy

The perpetually beleaguered Yucca Mountain federal nuclear-waste storage facility has become even more beleaguered. Try to stay with us: First, last week a federal appeals court ruled that the government had erred by failing to follow a National Academy of Sciences recommendation to plan for safety from radiation leaks for well over 10,000 years. Yucca opponents claimed victory. But the same court also issued an order suspending its ruling and allowing work on the facility to continue pending appeals for a rehearing. Yucca proponents claimed victory. Then, on Monday, the first in what is expected to be a string of lawsuits against the Department of Energy was filed by owners of three nuclear reactors, who claim the government owes them millions in damages for failing to take spent nuclear fuel off their hands, per contract. Meanwhile, Democrats plan to use Yucca — firmly opposed by John Kerry — as a campaign issue in Nevada, a swing state.