Deep Layoffs Announced at Yucca Mountain (AP)
Yucca Mountain's tunnel is closed and most workers have gone home.
January 16, 2008
"We're not locking the gate and walking away," Jason Bohne, spokesman for Bechtel SAIC, told the Associated Press. "We're putting it on standby status."
Congress didn't give the Energy Department the $494.5 million it wanted to operate the inoperative Yucca Mountain tunnel in 2008. So the chief contractor, Bechtel SAIC, is cutting operations down to a skeleton staff at the site, according to Ken Ritter's "Deep layoffs announced at Yucca Mountain."
"Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a Democrat who is a staunch opponent of the Yucca project and orchestrated the cut in funding, said he was sorry for the contractors losing their jobs but won't be happy until the Yucca budget is cut to zero."
Yucca Mountain, about 90 miles northwest of Las Vegas, Nevada, is where the U.S. government plans to build a national nuclear waste repository. Bechtel SAIC has been conducting site evaluations and exploration at the site. If the site reopens, it could hold as much as 77,000 tons of the most radioactive military, industrial and commercial waste.
At $1 million per ton for storing its toxic waste, nuclear power remains a costly alternative to renewable energy for producing power without emitting greenhouse gases.