In a report to Congress, Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman said the 70,000-ton limit set for Yucca Mountain is arbitrary and has nothing to do with conditions there. He said at least three times that amount of heavy metals could be stored there safely.
Congress approved Yucca Mountain for study as the country's only storage site for used nuclear fuel in 1987 and abandoned any plans for a second repository. The project has suffered many delays and is not expected to open before 2020.
Rep. Shelley Berkley, D-Nev., said the Energy Department appears to be targeting Nevada.
"I fear the Bush administration has gone delusional in its final throes," Berkley said.