Bush signs Yucca bill; Abraham promises transportation plan

| Wednesday, July 24, 2002

After 20 years of study and recent protests from Nevada, President Bush signed a bill July 23 making Yucca Mountain the nation's central repository for nuclear waste, AP reported.

Nevada's senators, who tried to sway colleagues to vote against the Yucca waste dump, argued the issue was broader than Nevada. They hoped concerns over thousands of waste shipments by truck and rail crossing 43 states would change some lawmakers' minds, but they were defeated.

''The successful completion of the Yucca Mountain project will ensure our nation has a safe and secure underground facility that will store nuclear waste in a manner that protects our environment and our citizens,'' White House spokesman Ari Fleischer said in a statement.

Nevada has five lawsuits pending against the project, and the Energy Department must still get a license from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. That process could take up to five years. Meanwhile, Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham promised a transportation plan before the end of next year and said stringent safety requirements will provide an ''effective first line of defense'' against terrorist threats.

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