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OPINION: Federal government kills thousands of current and future Yucca jobs in favor of underwhelming number of subsidized ‘green’ jobs


by Kyle Gillis – Nevada Policy Research Institute

For years antinuclear politicians called Yucca Mountain the nation’s “nuclear waste dump.” Now they’ve made it into an economic and tax dump.

Nuclear reprocessing at Yucca Mountain, say advocates, could convert highly valuable nuclear byproduct into usable power and bring thousands of permanent jobs to Nevada.

Yet the politicians who’ve repeatedly derailed that possibility regularly boast of the relatively tiny number of jobs and energy that their tax-subsidized “green” technologies might someday create.

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., is a case in point. He opposes Yucca not only as a nuclear materials storage facility but even as a site for nuclear reprocessing. Yet, he touts stimulus spending on other “green” projects, which create significantly fewer jobs than reprocessing at Yucca would.

Recently, the Obama administration granted Reid’s wish by pronouncing the Yucca project “dead” and eliminating funding for the Office of Civilian Radioactive Waste Management. This terminated all remaining Yucca employees.

Just two years ago, the Yucca project employed 2,700 people, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. Now, no employees work on the site.

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