Democrats hail Yucca scale-back

Nevada Democrats are praising new signals from the Obama administration that the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository will be poorly funded going forward.

After seeing $100 million lopped from the project allocation, there’s now word that the budget the president is preparing to propose will fund Yucca at the barest possible level. No numbers are yet available, but language in the budget specifies, "The Yucca Mountain program will be scaled back to those costs necessary to answer inquiries from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, while the Administration devises a new strategy toward nuclear waste disposal," as Jon Ralston reported earlier today.

That’s got to be a relief for Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., especially, and more broadly to Democrats and Nevadans who were banking on Obama’s campaign pledges to take a different route than Yucca for nuclear waste disposal.

The administration has sent mixed early signals about whether it will pull the NRC application for the repository, causing some to question its commitment to ending the project.

Reid’s office issued a statement calling the move "our most significant victory to date in our battle to protect Nevada from becoming the country’s toxic wasteland."

The senator added, "President Obama recognizes that the proposed dump threatens the health and safety of Nevadans, and millions of Americans. His commitment to stop this terrible project could not be clearer.”

The Nevada Democratic Party also issued a statement in praise of the budget language and of Reid for his leadership in fighting Yucca.

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