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House move on Yucca nuke repository could help Hanford

RICHLAND, Wash. – A bill in the U.S. House of Representatives would breathe new life into the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository in Nevada. The House will vote today on a larger spending bill that includes a budget increase for reviewing the project.

Some nuclear cleanup advocates are concerned that if Yucca Mountain doesn't open, it could mean high level waste could be permanently stored at Washington's Hanford Nuclear Reservation.

Yucca Mountain is where 53 million gallons of glass-bound radioactive sludge from southeast Washington has been slated to be stored long-term. The Obama Administration gutted the Yucca project at the urging of Nevada Senator Harry Reid.

Congressman Jay Inslee – a candidate for Washington governor – urged his colleagues to boost the Nuclear Regulatory Commission's budget for reviewing the license application.

"Now, we are preparing nuclear waste to go to Yucca Mountain that would essentially be all dressed up and no place to go if we don't finish this project," Inslee said.

The funding for the review of the Yucca Mountain license is part of a spending bill for the Departments of Energy and Interior. 

On the Web:

NRC's Yucca Mountain Licensing Activities

Office of Civilian Radioactive Waste Management

Copyright 2011 Northwest Public Radio

Anna King calls Richland, Washington home and loves unearthing great stories about people in the Northwest. She reports for the Northwest News Network from a studio at Washington State University, Tri-Cities. She covers the Mid-Columbia region, from nuclear reactors to Mexican rodeos.