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Regional News: Trump’s Nevada play leaves nation’s nuclear waste in limbo

Posted by   /  February 26, 2020  /  No Comments

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The president wants to win the state he narrowly lost in 2016, but he may be jumping into an energy issue

By Eric Wolff and Anthony Adragna | POLITICO

President Donald Trump is seeking to woo Nevada voters by abandoning the GOP’s decades of support for storing the nation’s nuclear waste under a mountain northwest of Las Vegas — a move that could drag the White House into an unsolvable political stalemate.

Trump, who is targeting a state that he narrowly lost to Hillary Clinton in 2016, announced the turnabout in a tweet this month, writing: “Nevada, I hear you on Yucca Mountain and my Administration will RESPECT you!” He also pledged to find “innovative approaches” to find a new place to store the 90,000 metric tons of nuclear plant leftovers stranded at 120 temporary storage sites — an impasse that is on course to cost taxpayers tens of billions of dollars.

The statement surprised people involved in the debate because developing a permanent nuclear repository at Yucca has long been a priority of Republicans, and even Trump’s own budget proposals in previous years had sought money to keep it alive. Taxpayers spent $15 billion developing the nuclear site after Congress selected the location during the Reagan era, only to see the Obama administration freeze the plan amid opposition from the state’s political leaders.

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