One manifestation of political gridlock that President Obama and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid can’t blame on Republicans is the failure to build a federal repository for nuclear waste. Nevada’s Yucca Mountain was selected as the site in 2002, setting off hysterical opposition from many Nevadans and some environmental groups. Obama repudiated the Yucca Mountain plan in order to placate Nevada voters. It was hardly an act of courage, and Obama has done little to find a new site.
Wisely, state Attorney General Martha Coakley and Senate President Therese Murray sent a letter to Washington last month in support of a bipartisan Senate proposal to end the three-decade impasse on storing radioactive fuel. Democrats Dianne Feinstein and Ron Wyden have joined with Republicans Lisa Murkowski and Lamar Alexander in calling for a new agency to restart the process of siting a nuclear-waste repository. The new agency would solicit proposals from communities that would welcome the repository as a source of jobs and investment.