Senator Reid’s New Yucca Mountain Proposal

Nicolas Loris /

Earlier this week, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and the rest of Nevada’s congressional delegation sent a letter to Secretary Elaine Chao asking the Department of Labor to put up the “necessary resources” to help 63 recently laid-off Nevadans transition to new jobs.

Sounds reasonable, right? Reid is just trying to help some down-on-their-luck constituents. Except that Reid and his comrades are the reason those 63 scientists, engineers and technicians lost their jobs in the first place. They worked at the Yucca Mountain spent nuclear fuel repository that Reid has worked tirelessly (his words) to kill.

And guess what? If Reid gets his way, 500 more will be laid off soon followed by 2,000 more. But Reid can’t have his cake and eat it too. Instead of pushing for a taxpayer bailout, he should be leading the charge to open Yucca.

Reid himself emphasizes that Nevada’s 5.8% unemployment rate is among the highest in the nation. Yucca Mountain has the potential to revitalize Nevada’s economy. A 2003 study by the University of Nevada’s Center for Business and Economic Research reported that the Yucca project supplied $195.7 million to the state’s economy along with 3,560 jobs. Additionally, opening Yucca would provide steady economic activity — $228 million annually during construction and $127 million annually once operations begin. (more…)