Nuclear waste is already an overheated political issue. Now, it's entering stage left, on the eve of the Nevada primary.
Nevada's Yucca Mountain is home to the proposed central dump for the nuclear waste now being stored at each of the nation's 100-plus nuclear power plants.
All the Democrats running for president have vowed to stop the dump, and cited the lack of a safe and politically viable method for dealing with the long-lived radioactive waste as a reason they oppose or question nuclear power. Republicans have all stated support for nuclear power, though with varying degrees of interest in government subsidies for the industry; Ron Paul is the only Republican candidate to oppose the Yucca Mountain waste repository, according to the Las Vegas Review Journal.
Nevada residents, for the most part, don't much like the idea of being the nation's radioactive waste dump. But the storage of spent fuel in 130 facilities in 39 states, where some 161 million Americans live within 75 miles, according to the Investor's Business Daily is proving controversial around the country, particularly since 9/11 brought fears of a terrorist attack into focus.
The Investor's Business Daily suggests repealing the 30-year-old ban on reprocessing nuclear fuel, so that the 56,000 tons can provide electricity to homes and businesses again.
In the era of global warming, nuclear power is getting a second look from environmentalists, the most vocal traditional enemy of the technology. What to do with the waste for the next few thousand years is the question.
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