Nuclear advocates take back the whole “Yucca is a necessity” thing

Nuclear advocates have long insisted that the planned nuclear-waste repository at Nevada’s Yucca Mountain is necessary before new nuclear reactors can be built, because on-site storage of waste is just too dangerous. But with Yucca’s prospects (at least in the short term) looking dim, and the prospects for new reactors looking bright under the “nuclear is renewable” Bush administration, the industry’s in a bit of a bind. Industry reps are starting to suggest that hey, maybe on-site or aboveground storage isn’t so bad after all. The nuclear-power industry is in a privileged position — unlike makers of, well, anything else, they have a legal agreement that makes the federal government responsible for their waste, an arrangement that critics say totally distorts the market viability of nuke power. Now nuke advocates face the delicate task of changing their stance on waste disposal without appearing to abandon support for Yucca.