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Nevada appeals court decision to continue Yucca Mountain licensing process

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Updated: 9/27/2013 1:10 pm
LAS VEGAS (KSNV MyNews3) -- Nevada is continuing its fight to keep nuclear waste away from the proposed nuclear site at Yucca Mountain. The state is challenging a federal appeals court decision from last month that essentially brought the yucca mountain project back from the dead.

The fight over the mountain is a complicated issue that goes back to the 1980's and is still being contested today.

The most important recent activity came back on August 13th, when a federal court of appeals in Washington, D.C. decided that the nuclear regulatory commission had to continue the licensing process for Yucca Mountain.

The commission has essentially stopped examining Yucca Mountain due to a lack of funding, but the court decision in august forced them to continue to consider Yucca Mountain.

The State of Nevada is appealing last month's circuit court decision in an attempt to keep nuclear waste away from Nevada. The state is filing what's known as a “petition for rehearing,” meaning they want the appeals court to hear their case again.

The one difference this time? The state wants all ten judges on the circuit to hear the case as part of what’s called an ‘en banc hearing.’ The last time the court heard the case and decided licensing for Yucca Mountain had to go forward, there were only 3 judges making the decision. Halstead says if Nevada wins its appeal, it is unlikely those in favor of a waste site at yucca mountain would be able to resurrect the project again.

Those in favor of the Yucca Mountain storage site often cite job creation as a huge reason why they support it, but the state wants nothing to do with it.

Halstead says we don't know exactly when or if the circuit court in D.C. will grant another hearing on this case. The circuit court is one step below the Supreme Court. Either side could still appeal another time to the Supreme Court, but Halstead says the circuit court's decision would carry a lot of weight in the Supreme Court's mind.

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