Two Dem Front Runners Oppose Nuclear Waste Dump Site

Here's an important addendum to our previous post on US Presidential candidate positions on climate change. Will it turn out that Republicans are the pro-, and Democrats the anti-nuclear party? Is climate change a consideration in this Democratic lead position? Does either Party care about the numerous pools scattered around the nation already filled with "hot" spent rods? Time will tell - maybe.

New York Sen. Hillary Clinton and Illinois Sen. Barack Obama on Wednesday declared themselves flatly opposed to building a nuclear waste repository in Nevada, a clear indication that the 2008 presidential election could end a 25-year effort to build the controversial dump.

Clinton delivered her opposition in person and Obama by letter as the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee held its first hearing on Yucca Mountain since Democrats took over Congress in January. Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., the panel's chair, said she had scheduled the hearing at the request of Clinton, the front-runner for the Democratic presidential nomination, who has been campaigning in Nevada on the issue. The state caucuses are Jan. 19. Congress has been planning for an underground repository to hold spent fuel from commercial power plants and waste from defense plants since 1982.

This Obama-Clinton position puts the Demcrats on a long-term collision course with related priorities:

The research and development component of the U.S. Department of Energy's Global Nuclear Energy Partnership (GNEP), a program that aims to reprocess spent nuclear fuel which could then be shared with partner countries, should not go forward at its current pace, says a new report from the National Research Council. DOE's Office of Nuclear Energy, of which GNEP is a part, should instead assign the highest priority to facilitating the startup of new commercial nuclear power plants, a program that is currently falling behind schedule due to funding gaps.

Via::McClatchy News Bureau, "Clinton, Obama urge Senate to shut door on nuclear waste site" and Science Daily, "Options For Dealing With Spent Nuclear Fuel, National Research Council Report" Image credit::Mineral County Yucca Mountain Oversight Program

Tags: Nevada