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Nuclear Waste Dump Dead*

June 2, 2001

Nuclear Waste Dump in Nevada Is Dead for Now, Daschle Says


The Associated Press

Senator Tom Daschle

Expanded Coverage

Politics: Congress

AS VEGAS, June 1 — A plan to store nuclear waste at Yucca Mountain, long opposed by Nevada, has become a casuality of the change in control of the Senate.

Senator Tom Daschle, the South Dakota Democrat who will become the majority leader, said on Thursday of the plan, "As long as we're in the majority, it's dead."

Since 1987, Yucca Mountain has been the only site studied to become the graveyard for 77,000 tons of the nation's spent nuclear fuel and high- level radioactive research waste. The Energy Department is more than a decade behind schedule in accepting such waste from utilities.

The department is scheduled to forward its recommendation next year to Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham, who will make a recommendation to President Bush. The earliest the site could open is 2010.

The dump site, 90 miles from Las Vegas, is opposed by members of both parties in Nevada's Congressional delegation; Gov. Kenny Guinn, a Republican; state and city leaders and the gambling industry. The State Senate on Wednesday approved $4 million for a legal and public relations fight against the dump.

Mr. Daschle, in town for a fund- raiser for Senator Harry Reid, Democrat of Nevada, will become the Senate's majority leader next week and Mr. Reid the majority whip, the No. 2 man in the Senate. Mr. Daschle said the change in leadership "will allow us to put Nevada's agenda on the national agenda."

The $1,000-a-person fund-raiser at the Bali Hai Golf Club was expected to bring in $500,000 for Mr. Reid's 2004 re-election campaign.

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