Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham has notified Nevada officials that he favors tunnels beneath Yucca Mountain in the southwestern part of the state as the nation's long-term depository for highly radioactive nuclear waste.
The secretary's notification to Governor Kenny Guinn and the Nevada legislature presages a formal recommendation to President Bush that could come as early as Feb. 10. It also intensifies the firestorm of controversy surrounding the project.
The Department of Energy began scouting possible locations for a nuclear depository in the 1960s and identified nine possible sites. Congress directed the agency in 1987 to restrict its evaluations to Yucca Mountain, which lies more than 160 kilometers northwest of Las Vegas.