Proposed Nuclear Waste Site Could Be Toxic Issue for Some Candidates
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.