Secretary of Energy Steven Chu today defended the Administration's recent announcement to drop the idea of storing high-level nuclear waste inside a Nevada mountain without offering specifics about what might replace it.
"What's wrong with Yucca Mountain?" demanded Senator John McCain (R–AZ) during a hearing of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. "I think we can do a better job," Chu replied, adding that "we have a couple of decades to figure this out." The Nobel laureate and former director of the Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory told legislators that high-level waste can be solidified and stored safely in interim storage sites for many years and suggested that someday there might be a way to "burn down" the waste and reduce its volume.
After the hearing, Chu offered reporters a simpler answer to the Yucca Mountain question. President Barack Obama decided against building the Yucca Mountain storage site, he said, "and I support the president."