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Senate Panel Trims Funds for Nuclear Waste Dump

July 23, 2002|From Associated Press

WASHINGTON — A Senate subcommittee voted Monday to cut more than one-third of the money President Bush requested for work at the proposed nuclear waste burial site at Yucca Mountain in Nevada.

The panel, headed by Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.), a foe of the storage site, would provide $336 million for preliminary work at the location, which is 90 miles northwest of Las Vegas. The president, a supporter of the plan, proposed $525 million, the same amount a House version of the bill would provide.

Two weeks ago, advocates of the proposed $58-billion project won a pivotal victory when the Senate voted, 60 to 39, to block Nevada from vetoing the plan. The House had voted its consent in May.

Reid and other opponents have pledged to keep fighting the project in the courts and at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

The plan envisions burying 77,000 tons of highly radioactive materials, mostly from power plants in 31 states, under Yucca Mountain.

Supporters hope it will be ready by 2010. The site has been studied for two decades at a cost of nearly $7 billion.

A Senate appropriations subcommittee included the reduced appropriation for the Yucca project in a $26.3-billion bill financing next year's energy and water projects, which are widely popular among lawmakers. The overall bill is $800 million above Bush's request and $1.1 billion over this year's total.

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