Pro­posed Nu­clear Waste Site Could Be Toxic Is­sue for Some Can­di­dates

The Washington Post Sunday - - Front Page -

J oin­ing ethanol in the pan­theon of com­plex en­ergy is­sues that 2008 pres­i­den­tial can­di­dates must ad­dress is Yucca Moun­tain, the pro­posed burial site for nu­clear waste in the Ne­vada desert.

Se­nate Ma­jor­ity Leader Harry Reid of Ne­vada has vowed to thwart plans to de­posit waste at Yucca Moun­tain as long as he’s in of­fice, but the is­sue re­mains a big one with Ne­vada vot­ers. And now that the state has moved its 2008 cau­cuses near the front of the nom­i­nat­ing cal­en­dar, Yucca is an is­sue that would-be pres­i­dents can’t ig­nore — and a few of the can­di­dates are squirm­ing. At the top of the list: for­mer sen­a­tor John Ed­wards (D-N.C.), who op­posed Yucca in 2000, sup­ported it in 2002 and now op­poses it again.

Can­di­dates who weren’t around for the Se­nate’s 2002 de­bate have more wig­gle room on the is­sue, a tricky one be­cause the waste is now stored around the coun­try — in­clud­ing in an­other early-pri­mary state, South Carolina, home to an es­ti­mated 37 mil­lion gal­lons of liq­uid waste at the Savannah River Site.

What fol­lows is a sur­vey of the 2008 field, from those like Ed­wards, who have — shall we say — a “mixed” record on the is­sue, to the stal­wart op­po­nents and one pro­po­nent of mak­ing Yucca a nu­clear waste des­ti­na­tion point.

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