Does USA Today qualify as a top newspaper on a par with the New York Times and The Washington Post? It’s certainly more colorful. You can get it free on air shuttles and at a lot of hotels. People who have seen their local newspaper die – like Seattle – will likely depend on it more, if not for local news. And we certainly like it’s editorial stance on Yucca Mountain:
Like it or not, the nation needs nuclear power as a carbon-free bridge to a future in which wind, solar and other options will power computers and TVs and charge plug-in hybrid cars. It makes sense to dispose of spent nuclear fuel in a single place instead of at more than 100 nuclear plants around the country, where it is now.
They pick up a theme William Tucker pursued in his Wall Street Journal op-ed:
The president and the nuclear industry now want a group of experts to convene to decide what to do next. An idea to revisit is reprocessing spent fuel, which President Carter banned out of security concerns that seem much less compelling 30 years later. Reprocessing allows fuel to be re-used and shrinks the ultimate amount of spent fuel — but what's left still has to go somewhere.
President Ford actually got that ball rolling, but Carter had TMI on his watch, so he usually gets the credit. And, of course, the editorial gets the politics:
Killing Yucca is a big political win for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and other Nevada lawmakers who've long opposed the storage site. But that victory empowers not-in-my-backyard politicians in every state to dig in their heels. And, whether it's waste dumps or wind farms or oil refineries or air routes, they do — the national interest be damned.
Yes, they certainly do dig in their heels, but this goes all the way to the micro-level – meaning you and me – who would prefer not to have our pristine suburban sprawl besmirched by anything necessary or useful.
USA Today is a little late to the Yucca Mountain party, but it’s striking that the press all along the ideological spectrum has given thumbs down to this decision. Hard to find this much agreement on anything.