House approves Nevada nuclear dump plan
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The House voted Wednesday to force Nevada to provide long-term storage for nuclear waste from around the country, despite vigorous opposition from the state's congressional delegation and a veto of the plan by Nevada's governor.
The vote was 306 to 117.
The House action was the second to last major hurdle for the controversial proposal to transport nuclear waste to Yucca Mountain, which is about 100 miles northwest of Las Vegas.
Opponents are now pinning their hopes on the Democratic-controlled Senate where the outcome is less certain.
Senate action on the White House-backed plan is expected in the next few months.
"The Yucca Mountain nuclear storage facility has been tested and tested and tested again," House Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Illinois, said in a floor statement. "Each and every time the results are the same: we should proceed with this scientifically-proven safe single storage facility for spent nuclear fuel beneath the desert, as opposed to the current hodge-podge of 'temporary' storage sites at over 130 sites scattered across the country."
House Minority Leader Dick Gephardt, D-Missouri, disagreed.
"My biggest concern is that it makes no sense to have all this nuclear waste travel across the country by truck or rail," he said. "This is not a guest ion of isolating the risk -- Yucca Mountain in reality just spreads it around."
Technically, the House voted to override Nevada Republican Gov. Kenny Guinn's veto of a federal government initiative to ship nuclear waste from over 100 nuclear power plants to the state.
If eventually approved, the $58 billion facility would open in 2010 and eventually would hold up to 77,000 tons of waste.
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