The editorial board takes a look at the Obama administration’s decision to reduce funding for Yucca Mountain:
If the president's vision for a clean energy future is to be believed or is to come to fruition, nuclear energy must be a part of the mix, and the safe disposal of its radioactive waste must be given more serious consideration.
They see the politics:
The president keeps a campaign promise to shut the site down. By doing so, he pleases Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.). And he potentially secures the swing state's place in the blue column; the Silver State hadn't voted for the Democratic presidential nominee since 1996 until it went to Mr. Obama in 2008.
And they acknowledge how President Obama might proceed:
He also called for redirecting resources to improve the safety and security at plants around the country until a long-term solution is found. Those alternatives, however unlikely the first one is, are more than he offered when he cut off Yucca Mountain's funding.
Which is true, although likely how he’ll proceed. Obama has shown himself to be a remarkably consistent thinker.
The Post does not acknowledge that the Yucca Mountain license is still in progress – there’s enough funding to allow the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to proceed with its review – and thus the repository is not precisely dead. But their response is judicious – and, we should note, influential. It will be interesting to see how much Yucca Mountain percolates through the next few news cycles. If the decision comes to seem a triumph of politics over science – a big no-no for the administration – then some further explanation may be forthcoming.