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New agency sought to find site for nation's nuclear waste

Photo courtesy Dept. of Energy
An aerial view of north end of the Yucca Mountain crest in February 1993.

The nation needs a new agency to site a federal nuclear waste dump. That's the recommendation issued Friday by a presidential commission.

The congressionally-chartered agency would decide where to store radioactive waste that's now sitting in aging underground tanks in southeast Washington.

The Hanford Nuclear Reservation's waste was destined for Yucca Mountain in Nevada. But the Obama Administration shut down that project.

Now the Blue Ribbon Commission says there needs to be, "A new organization dedicated solely to implementing the waste management program and empowered with the authority and resources to succeed."

The commission says the federal government and the Department of Energy that manages Hanford and other sites "has not inspired confidence or trust in our nation's nuclear waste management program."

The recommendation includes this advice: the new agency should get local input on siting a permanent repository.

Meanwhile, Washington State Attorney General Rob McKenna is filing another lawsuit against the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. He argues the agency is purposely not acting to save the Yucca Mountain project.

Blue Ribbon Commission report

Copyright 2011 Northwest News Network

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.
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