A billion here, a billion there -- pretty soon we're talking real money.
To be somewhat precise, $13.5 billion, which is what the federal government has spent in the more than two decades that it's proposed storing nuclear waste in an area known as Yucca Mountain, a volcanic ridge fewer than a hundred miles from Las Vegas. And for just as long, activists have fought the plan.
But yesterday, new Energy Secretary Steven Chu said that the site is no longer an option. Instead, the feds will store the 58,000 tons of waste at power plants while they explore other options -- and any funding for further Yucca Mountain projects has been removed from the budget.
That's good news for environmentalists, good news for new Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar (who won't have to deal with this issue, at least) -- and stunning news for anyone with a memory for numbers. Billions of them.
Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.