Hidden nuclear agenda uncloaked by NGO

Congress' controversial nuclear dumpsite plans for Yucca Mountain have been exposed as having a hidden agenda for nuclear expansion, according to a Washington-based NGO.

Following a recent analysis of US Department of Energy (DOE) figures, it has become apparent that, in the wake of the 2002 Senate vote to approve Yucca Mountain as a dumpsite, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission quickly and quietly granted license extensions to nuclear reactors throughout the United States.

The rate of nuclear power plant relicensing then doubled after Congress approved the Yucca Mountain proposals, according to nonprofit legislative advocacy organisation, the Environment Working Group (EWG) Action Fund.

Moreover, there are currently 18 other applications pending, which would, in turn, produce thousands of tonnes more waste. Due to the fact that no application for licensing a nuclear reactor has been denied to date, the EWG Action Fund claims it would be unlikely these further applications would not be granted also.

Spokesman for EWG Action Fund, Richard Wiles, claims that these figures throw light on a shadowy premeditation from the Bush Administration with regards to the US nuclear industry.

“This analysis confirms what we suspected, but what the public was never told, that the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste site is really a nuclear expansion plan in disguise,” Mr Wiles stated.

If Yucca Mountain opens on the proposed date in 2010, all of its storage space will currently be accounted for. Figures from EWG Action Fund show that at least an additional 9,000 tonnes of nuclear waste will then also be transported to the dumpsite, with thousands more sitting at power plants across the US.

Mr Wiles said this means the Bush Administration must now decide whether to expand the Yucca Mountain development from its first day of operation in order to allow for all the excess nuclear waste that is currently unaccounted for, or whether to allow radioactive waste to continue to pile up at 79 sites spanning 35 states.

By Jane Kettle

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