Disappointing rhetoric, but Yucca Mountain review proceeds

Green Sheet takes a negative spin by citing the worst part of a recent interview by the head of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission:
Finding a permanent site for spent nuclear fuel in the U.S. isn’t “an urgent problem,” the head of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission said.

Gregory Jaczko, who took over as chairman of the agency in May, said in an interview that the material can continue to be stored safely for the time being at nuclear power plants.

“Certainly, in the short term it’s not an urgent problem,” Jaczko, 38, said in the interview yesterday at the agency’s headquarters in Rockville, Maryland. “It is an issue we need to be aware of and be diligent about, but it’s not a crisis by any means.”
I find it extremely disappointing that the Obama administration has seen fit to take the easy way out of the nuclear waste issue by kicking it down the road. Whether or not nuclear is part of the new energy solution, the existing waste requires long-term storage, which is a tremendous challenge both technically and politically. The most charitable explanation of such a decision would be that the administration calculated that its finite political capital would best be put to use elsewhere (like health care and energy/climate legislation).

On the other hand, the news is not all bad:
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission will press ahead with its review of a license for a nuclear waste dump in Nevada, even as the Obama administration has made clear it is abandoning the project, the commission's chairman said Tuesday.
Jaczko says they are taking it "one year at a time", so I hold out hope that Yucca Mountain is not as dead as Obama claims and Harry Reid (the Nevadan Senate Majority Leader) hopes.

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