- The Washington Times - Thursday, November 11, 2010

The re-election of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid was a blow to America’s quest for cleaner energy. That’s because the Nevada senator, in league with President Obama, can proceed with his campaign to short-circuit nuclear power.

No one has played a more obstructionist role in stopping Nevada’s Yucca Mountain nuclear-waste repository than the Silver State’s senior senator. Mr. Reid’s return to Capitol Hill is a victory for NIMBY (not in my backyard) Nevadans even though their backyard is primarily arid desolation unsuitable for human habitation.

Yucca Mountain’s warren of caverns took 30 years to dig and would provide safe nuclear-waste storage for 10,000 years. Instead, Americans are being left to pick up the tab for what the senator and fellow anti-nuke ideologues have rendered a $10 billion tunnel to nowhere. The Obama administration and the Democratic-controlled Congress nixed funds for the tunnel complex from the federal budget and worked to exclude nuclear energy from the mix of favored renewable-energy sources even though it produces no air pollution.

In March, Energy Secretary Steven Chu convened a panel to recommend a disposal solution but barred the Nevada site from consideration. In September, Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) Chairman Gregory B. Jaczko ordered a halt to work on the Yucca facility, claiming the fiscal 2011 federal budget authorized the project’s termination. Congress, however, adjourned without enacting the budget. As a result, current and former NRC commissioners have objected to the chairman’s unilateral act, saying Mr. Jaczko exceeded his authority.


Thirty-two states and the District of Columbia have ordered utility companies to begin providing electricity from renewable sources. These initiatives won’t make significant headway without a turn to nuclear power. Mandates vary from 8 percent in Pennsylvania by 2020 to 40 percent in Maine by 2017. With about 10 percent of U.S. electricity presently coming from various types of renewables, directives for more clean energy without nuclear are unrealistic.

Liberal opposition to all things nuclear is rooted in the left’s repugnance for American excellence - particularly in science and weaponry. Ironically, environmental radicals reject the only existing method for achieving the clean-energy goals they hold so dear. This is the sort of duplicitous governance Americans expect the incoming class of congressional Republicans to counter when they land in Washington’s O-Zone.