The Corner

GAO: Yucca Mountain Shutdown Put Politics Over Science

Hey, anyone remember all that stuff about the “Republican war on science?” From the NYT:

The Obama administration did not provide a technical or scientific basis for shutting down the site and failed to plan or identify risks associated with its hasty closure, which could hinder the Energy Department if the Nuclear Regulatory Commission or lawsuits prompt the agency to revive the project, the report said.

And this is from the actual report (PDF):

Nevertheless, by terminating work on Yucca Mountain, DOE likely would have to restart the process for any alternative repository site, since every site is unique, according to NRC officials. Some of the officials we spoke with estimated that the termination of Yucca Mountain could set back the opening of a new geologic repository by at least 20 years and cost billions of dollars. Some stakeholders referred to the termination as “kicking the can down the road.” Moreover, several DOE and NRC officials and industry representatives stated that ending the license review process before allowing NRC to review the merits of the application was a loss of potentially valuable information, particularly NRC’s assessment regarding acceptability of the license application.

 It goes on and on: Ignoring science and costing billions upon billions of extra dollars we don’t have while potentially endangering the public. But hey, keeping Harry Reid in the senate and winning Nevada in the presidential election: Priceless. 

Jonah Goldberg, a senior editor of National Review and the author of Suicide of the West, holds the Asness Chair in Applied Liberty at the American Enterprise Institute.

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