Nevada Officials Deride Proposal To Double Size Of Nuclear Dump

Nevada officials say they doubt Congress will let the federal Energy Department double the size of the nuclear waste repository it plans to build in the Nevada desert.

The agency released a draft environmental study on the proposal to increase from 77,000 tons to almost 150,000 tons the amount of radioactive waste that would be entombed at Yucca Mountain.

Meanwhile, the project chief is telling Congress that the cost of the Yucca project could top $77 billion -- or 35 percent more than the $57.5 billion estimated in 2001.

Nevada is fighting the plan.

Senator Harry Reid says the Energy Department must be dreaming.

And Nevada's chief anti-Yucca administrator says the proposal is -- quote -- "invalid and likely illegal."

An Energy Department spokesman says planners needed to update the plan to account for waste still being generated at 121 reactors in 39 states.

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