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Reno Gazette Journal, February 9, 2010

Feds withdraw applications for water for Yucca Mountain nuclear waste dump

Federal officials withdrew on Tuesday the applications for water rights needed to build a rail line to the proposed Yucca Mountain nuclear waste dump.

“This is another important step toward not only killing the dump, but also making sure it can never come back to life,” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said in a news release. “I have already sent a letter to the Government Accountability Office asking the agency to begin examining alternatives for the site. I look forward to hearing their response and working together on a solution that will help put Nevadans to work.”

Department of Energy officials Tuesday withdrew 116 water applications it had filed with the state engineer’s office for building a rail line to haul nuclear waste to the mountain 90 miles northwest of Las Vegas.

A Monday letter from Federal Project Director Ned B. Larson to State Engineer Tracy Taylor said the department doesn’t intend to pursue the Caliente rail line water applications “in light of recent developments.”

The developments include the Obama administration’s plan to zero out funding for the project, and Energy Secretary Steven Chu’s announcement last week that the department would withdraw the license application within 30 days. A review of the license application by nuclear regulators also has been suspended temporarily.

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