This article makes an important point about new minority leader Harry Reid (D-NV): he's firmly opposed to the siting of a national nuclear-waste dump at Yucca Mountain, which has cast the future of the project into uncertainty.
A portion of the staggering amount of radioactive waste at the Hanford, Washington site - which I discussed earlier here - is earmarked for shipment to Yucca Mountain circa 2010. Amazingly enough, the intent is to build a 300-mile rail line to the dump site, which would immediately become one of the country's most attractive terrorist targets. The alternative is to ship the material by truck. Both methods are supremely vulnerable to accidents and attacks. As this article notes,
Government planners say they need definitive answers to begin plotting transportation routes from Hanford and other sites to a national repository.Disposal problems, by the way, represent a variable cost of nuclear energy, which does not get factored into its price. I mention this in light of attempts by the industry to position itself as a "cheap" and "green" solution to global warming.
There has been no decision on whether the material will travel by truck or train. Either way, most observers agree an accident would be a national catastrophe.