Yucca Mountain Order Shortsighted

President Barack Obama is vowing to reduce U.S. dependence on imported oil by one-third. But he already has done much to make that difficult if not impossible to achieve.

Most realistic analysts agree Obama’s “alternative energy” forecasts are no more than a pipe dream. Both coal and nuclear power will be needed long into the future.

Obama is well into a campaign to wreck the coal industry, however. And he already has slammed the door on expansion of the nuclear power industry.

He did that by halting a program that had been in progress for years, to establish a secure repository for nuclear waste at Yucca Mountain, Nev.

Without a place where the nation’s nuclear waste can be stored safely, increased use of atomic energy in the United States will not be practical. Even the radioactive waste already stored at dozens of sites is a serious concern, and it does not all come from nuclear power plants. Some is generated in other industries and in health care.

Republicans in Congress plan to investigate Obama’s decision to cancel the Yucca Mountain project. There is no uncertainty about why the decision was made, however. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., opposed the Yucca Mountain plan. The president’s decision was political payback.

Whatever Congress finds out about cancellation of the Yucca Mountain program, however, one thing already is clear: By issuing his order, with no plan to pursue another nuclear waste repository site, Obama made it much more difficult for the nation to utilize atomic energy.