Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Fed actions spell demise of nuclear-waste rail line

Written by 

The Department of Energy on Tuesday withdrew 116 water applications it had filed with the Nevada State Engineer for building a rail line to haul nuclear waste to Yucca Mountain, Nev., signaling the end of an effort by the government to establish the line to serve the proposed waste site.

“This is the first card in hopefully a domino of cards that is ready to fall,” said Nevada Senior Deputy Attorney General Marta Adams.

The letter from DOE Federal Project Director Ned B. Larson to State Engineer Tracy Taylor said the department does not intend to pursue the Caliente rail line water applications “in light of recent developments.” The statement appears to reflect the Obama Administration's plan to zero out funding for the project and Energy Secretary Steven Chu’s announcement that the department would withdraw the license application within 30 days. A review of the license application by nuclear regulators has been suspended temporarily.

DOE filed the Caliente rail line water requests on Jan. 20, 2009, the day President Obama took office. Nevada filed its protests on April 1. Yucca Mountain was the only site being considered for a national nuclear waste repository.