Commentary: Yucca Mountain becomes battle of science, politics

If you use electricity — and everybody does — you've been taxed for more than 20 years to finance a nuclear waste project the Obama administration is killing after an investment of $13.5 billion.

That money is being kissed off for no good reason beyond politics. There's more: The administration intends to keep paying for the Yucca Mountain project after its death.

Since 1983, geologists and other scientists have been studying Yucca Mountain, Nev., as a permanent storage site for the nation's radioactive reactor wastes. In 1987, Congress chose Yucca Mountain as the most promising option after scientists had explored every plausible and half-plausible alternative – including burial at Hanford in Eastern Washington.

Electric ratepayers throughout the country have since been financing the necessary research at Yucca Mountain. That research hasn't turned up any evidence that Yucca Mountain isn't the best place to bury America's reactor wastes. It is arid, stable, isolated and under federal control. The proposed site at Hanford, in contrast, was next to the Columbia River and saturated with groundwater.

Pandering to Nevada voters last year, Barack Obama promised to stop the Yucca Mountain project, which has also been a long-time goal of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada.

To read the complete editorial, visit The (Tacoma) News Tribune.