WASHINGTON, Dec. 13 (UPI) -- Shifting power on Capitol Hill is casting doubt on whether nuclear waste will be transferred on schedule from Washington State to Nevada.
The Seattle Times reported Monday the ascension Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., as Democratic leader puts him in a better position to stall or kill the project to move some 30,000 tons of high-level nuclear waste from Hanford, Wash., to Yucca Mountain, Nev.
Reid became minority leader last month after Sen. Tom Daschle of South Dakota lost his re-election bid.
The Yucca Mountain site is scheduled to open in 2010. Hanford's nuclear waste is to be mixed with glass and made into logs 14 feet long and 2 feet in diameter.
Some 9,000 logs were to be transported to Yucca Mountain between 2013 and 2028. Officials are not sure where the Hanford nuclear waste would go if it cannot be stored in Yucca.
Officials in Washington said the issue is not over, however.
"I wouldn't say Yucca Mountain is a foregone conclusion," said Mike Wilson, a nuclear-waste manager for Washington's Ecology Department. "We're in a wait-and-see posture."