driving along Interstate 95 northwest of Las Vegas could soon
be traveling near the nation's permanent burial site for tons
of high-level nuclear waste now kept throughout the United States.
Federal officials have designated Yucca Mountain to receive thousands
of shipments of highly radioactive waste.
tons of radioactive waste are expected to flow to Yucca Mountain
by truck and train for about 20 years after it opens in 2010.
The site would remain radioactive for 10,000 years.
shipments could begin before 2010, with waste stored in temporary
sites until the permanent site opened. Shipments of foreign nuclear
waste began last year and were expected to continue through 2009
before they were halted after the Sept. 11 attacks.
officials cited national security as a key reason for approving
Yucca Mountain as the sole sight to store waste. Officials believe
one site located underground and far away from population centers
should be more secure from terrorists. Currently, 313 sites in
39 states house waste. President Bush is expected to accept the
recommendation by the U.S. Energy Department on Yucca Mountain.