CARSON CITY, Nev. (AP) – Gov. Jim Gibbons challenged Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid on Friday to “put up or shut up” about working to stop Yucca Mountain from being used as the nation’s nuclear repository.

Gibbons wrote a letter to Reid, D-Nev., asking him to use his influence in Congress to repeal the Nuclear Waste Policy Act that designates Yucca Mountain as a high-level nuclear dump.

“Sen. Reid should make Nevada safer by working to immediately repeal the NWPA and kill Yucca Mountain once and for all,” Gibbons said in a written statement.

Jon Summers, a spokesman for Reid, dismissed the criticism.

“Jim Gibbons has done very little as governor to advance the state’s fight against Yucca Mountain,” he said.

Thursday, Reid said he had been assured by the Obama administration that it will seek to eliminate funding in 2011 for a review needed to open the nuclear waste site 90 miles northwest of Las Vegas.

Obama opposes the use of Yucca Mountain as a nuclear waste dump, and Energy Department officials have said it’s the administration’s policy that Yucca Mountain would never be used. But the licensing process continues.

On Wednesday, the Senate voted to cut funding for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s review to $29 million in 2010. The president had requested $56 million.

The Obama administration has said it will appoint a commission to find alternatives to Yucca Mountain.

“I’m convinced that for the foreseeable future, for the next 50 to 100 years, we’ll simply store the spent fuel rods on site,” Reid told reporters this week in Washington, D.C.

The statement did not satisfy Gibbons.

“Every few weeks or months we hear from someone in Congress that Yucca Mountain is dead, yet the project and the licensing process continue,” Gibbons said.

The governor himself has come under fire for sending mixed messages on Yucca Mountain.

In his budget proposal to the 2009 Legislature, Gibbons sought to cut staff at the state’s Nuclear Projects office, citing the state’s revenue shortfall

In 2007, he backed a decision by the state engineer for a monthlong extension allowing the U.S. Department of Energy to use the state’s water to drill bore holes near the mountain.


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