WASHINGTON — Sen. Harry Reid said today he is working to form a study group to come up with alternatives to burying nuclear waste at the Yucca Mountain site in Nevada.
"I am going to have a blue ribbon panel to take a look at that," the Nevada Democrat said in a meeting with reporters. He did not give details other than he expected the group would be given a year to report its findings.
Energy Secretary Steven Chu in recent appearances has endorsed the idea of forming a commission to take stock of the nation’s nuclear waste management practices. President Barack Obama has declared he opposes storing radioactive material at Yucca Mountain but has not advanced any alternatives.
The Nuclear Energy Institute, the government relations arm of the nuclear industry, also has suggested a commission as a way to form a "Plan B" if Obama follows through on his policy.
Other possible ideas "haven’t been studied at all, that is one of the problems," Reid said.
The Obama administration in documents last month said the president’s 2010 budget to Congress will contain funding to keep a Yucca Mountain construction application alive before the Nuclear Regulatory Commission but otherwise will "devise a new strategy towards nuclear waste disposal."
Contact Stephens Washington Bureau Chief Steve Tetreault at email@example.com or 202-783-1760.