Yucca Mountain in Nevada has been the future destination for a facility to store nuclear waste storage from various states. Now, the Obama Administration and Nevada Senator Harry Reid are second-guessing the decision to bring the nuclear waste into Nevada.
Governor Mark Sanford is taking issue with Yucca Mountain because South Carolina would lose the $1.2 billion invested into the mountain over the past few years. South Carolina paid the money to help set up Yucca Mountain, and would be able to send the state’s nuclear waste to Nevada. Sanford says this decision to possibly back out of plans for the site is goes against President Obama’s “change” slogan.
“I think one, it’s not chump change. I think the average guy out there doesn’t consider it chump change. It’s the complete reversal. It’s one thing to say we don’t care that much about money, I don’t think that he made any particularly strong claims there, but what he did talk about was change. This is just reverting back to old-style Chicago back room politics saying ‘Oh, our buddy’s in trouble, we’ll just go ahead and throw him this.’ And, that’s very much opposed to the kind of campaign that he ran,” says Sanford.
Sanford says the Administration needs to look at all of the factors and the benefits other states would have on Yucca Mountain. President Obama now says they need to build new nuclear plants across the country, including one at the Savannah River Site.
“This isn’t a South Carolina versus Nevada issue, this is an American issue cause it’s really ultimately about energy independence. The Obama Administration announced loan guarantees for new nuclear site over in the Georgia side of the Savannah River near Augusta or Allendale. You can’t be out there building new nuclear plants if you don’t have a place to put the waste. So, in one hand we offer, and in the other hand we take back,” says Sanford.
The governor says Yucca Mountain was named the spot to put the facility for nuclear waste for the past few decades. He says both party administrations, including Carter, Reagan, Bush, Clinton and Bush, have stood by the idea.
“What is I think striking about this is that you have something that has stood the test of science, the test of politics, Republican and Democratic administrations have long said that’s the spot. It just defies common sense to say ‘tell you what, we are going to reverse it because one guy happens to be in trouble in Nevada,’ and that’s what happens to be going on right now,” says Sanford.
From a terrorism stand-point, Sanford says having more nuclear waste storage facilities across the country, instead of a single facility in Yucca Mountain, would cause a greater risk.
“You got all kinds of different targets that you could hit if you are a bad guy that would create all kinds of carnage in a whole host of different communities across this country. I think from the point of national security it’s a problem,” says Sanford.