July 30, 2014
The Energy Department is cutting operations and laying off contract workers at the Nevada desert site in the where it plans to build a national nuclear waste repository.
A project official declares "the tunnel is closed" at the Yucca Mountain project site.
He says cutting down to a skeleton staff is necessary after Congress cut funding for the Yucca project, about 90 miles northwest of Las Vegas.
But he says staffers are working on an application for a Nuclear Regulatory Commission operating license and still plan to submit it by June 30.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid engineered the deep congressional funding cuts.
He says he feels sorry 63 Bechtel SAIC contractors are losing their jobs.
But he says it's becoming more and more clear that the Energy Department plan to open the repository is in trouble.