Over the past few days, the Obama administration experienced significant pushback on its decision to scale back the Yucca Mountain project – more, we admit, than we really expected. (Just scroll down to earlier posts – we’ve watched this happen with considerable pleasure.)
Polls, and not just those from NEI, show growing support for nuclear energy – we think NEI can claim some credit for public opinion coming around - and good polls makes supporting nuclear energy easier for even Democratic Congressfolks to do. Consequently, the administration has had to try to provide a fuller explanation, especially to the Senate, of their plans for moving forward. These have been positive developments – so far, so good.
But Congress and the administration still shows reluctance, perhaps it is a hangover from the No Nukes 1980s. Exciting times, those. Thus, rather than act precipitously, we get The Dance of the Blue Ribbons:
Sen. Harry Reid said today he is working to form a study group to come up with alternatives to burying nuclear waste at the Yucca Mountain site in Nevada.
"I am going to have a blue ribbon panel to take a look at that," the Nevada Democrat said in a meeting with reporters. He did not give details other than he expected the group would be given a year to report its findings.
Reid often gets cast as the villain in the Yucca Mountain issue – it’s in his state and an article of Nevada political faith is that Yucca Mountain must be opposed – but Reid is actually pro-nuclear. We don’t think he’s anything but sincere here.
And the administration? Stand back, here it comes:
[DOE Secretary Steven] Chu said he was convening a "blue-ribbon panel" of experts to "develop a long-term strategy that must include the waste disposal plan," after Obama's budget ruled out a proposed national repository at Nevada's Yucca Mountain.
"I don't want to suggest what this blue-ribbon panel might determine but let me stress this will be done this year," he told a Senate budget committee hearing on the energy proposals in Obama's 3.55-trillion-dollar budget.
Well, all right, that’s nine months for DOE and a year for the Senate. While we couldn’t blame you for a little cynicism here – kick-the-can is, after all, a rather old-fashioned game – for a Democratic government, this is a tectonic shift in thinking. If they need some time to do that thinking, fine. We’re pretty sure how this will come out – especially with the climate change conference in Copenhagen happening in the midst of it - so fine.
It’s an alpaca. He lives at Colorado’s Bella Vita Ranch, where they seem to have a lot of blue ribbon winners. Take a gander, if you’d like an alpaca for the kids.