Nation’s Nuclear Future To Be Decided By Commission

Jan 29, 2010

RICHLAND, Wash. – U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu named a blue ribbon panel Friday to find a final resting spot for the nation's nuclear waste and spent fuel. It has just two years to come up with an alternative to Nevada's Yucca Mountain. As Richland Correspondent Anna King reports, the commission's findings have big implications for how the Hanford Nuclear Reservation deals with its high-level radioactive sludge. 

For decades, Yucca Mountain in Nevada was considered the final “drop box”for massive glass logs of radioactive waste from Hanford. But that plan has been killed by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and the Obama Administration. Now, all eyes are on the freshly formed 15-person commission that will decide what to do with the nation's nuclear waste from Hanford's and other places. Tom Carpenter heads the watchdog group Hanford Challenge. He says finding a suitable new spot will take time.

Tom Carpenter: “I think the smart thing for us to do in the Northwest at this point is to accept for the moment that Yucca Mountain is not an option, that we are going to have to store high-level nuclear waste, hopefully in glass form, for a few dozen years until there is an acceptable agreed upon repository.”

But the big question remains: If Nevada isn't willing to be the nation's nuclear repository what state is?

I'm Anna King in Richland.