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Obama cutting money for Yucca Mountain

May 20, 2009 at 5:09 PM

WASHINGTON, May 20 (UPI) -- The Obama administration has cut funding for a proposed U.S. nuclear storage facility at Yucca Mountain and for the Nevada agency fighting the plan.

The cuts suggest that President Barack Obama is following through on a campaign promise to abandon plans for Yucca Mountain, the Las Vegas Sun reported Wednesday. The proposed nuclear waste storage facility has already lost much of its funding through budget cuts arranged by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., and Obama's budget would slash another $100 million.

But the proposed budget also includes $197 for the Energy Department's application process before the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. While officials may be pursuing the process as a means of finding an alternative storage site, Nevada still has to spend millions of dollars on lawyers.

The department first proposed using Yucca Mountain, 80 miles north of Las Vegas, as a depository for spent nuclear fuel rods in 1987.

Bruce Breslow, head of the Nevada agency for nuclear projects, urged the state's congressional delegation to bring federal aid back to $5 million from $3.2 million. He said that the state needs the money for a "fair fight."

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