Trump didn't have a position on Yucca Mountain in an interview with a Nevada TV station
The nuclear waste repository at Yucca Mountain has been a top political issue in Nevada for decades
The incredible saga of the controversial nuclear waste depository in Yucca Mountain, Nevada, roughly 90 miles outside of Las Vegas, was rekindled Wednesday when Donald Trump twice ducked the issue during a local TV interview.
Trump emphasized his connections to Nevada, in an interview with KSNV, but didn’t take a position on perhaps the highest-profile issue in the key swing state over the past 25 years.
“I’m very friendly with this area. I have the hotel here, I will tell you I’m going to take a look at it because so many people here are talking about it. I’ll take a look at it, and the next time you interview me, I’ll have an answer,” Trump said.
Asked a follow up about concerns the repository would hurt tourism, Trump again sidestepped.
“No. 1 is safety and it is a little too close to major population, so I will take a look at it and I will have an opinion,” the Republican presidential nominee said.
Nevada Sen. Harry Reid, the retiring Senate minority leader who has fought Yucca his entire Senate career – and whose political machine will be critical in deciding next month’s winner here – jumped on Trump’s lack of a direct answer.
“Trump told us we pronounce our state wrong; then he refused to take stance on Yucca,” Reid tweeted.
“It’s pronounced Nev-AD-a and Yucca Mountain is dead.”
Yucca Mountain was intended to be the long-term solution for storing commercial nuclear waste currently being stored at sites throughout the country. Beginning with studies in the 1980s and what was known as the “Screw Nevada” bill that cemented Yucca as the only site to be considered, the plan has been fought in Congress, courts and administrative agencies.
The Obama administration – and Reid – have stopped any progress, but given that there is still no solution to the nuclear waste issue, there is no guarantee a Yucca closure will be permanent.
Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton in January told the Las Vegas Sun that “Yucca should be off the table.”
She added a call for “a continuing science-based effort to try to figure out what to do about nuclear waste.”
CNN’s Dan Merica and Manu Raju contributed to this report.