A twenty year evaluation and legal process finally came to an end on 10 July when the US Senate approved the designation of Yucca mountain, Nevada, as the site for a national repository for spent fuel and high level radioactive waste, giving a huge boost to the nuclear industry in the US and elsewhere. The House of Representatives had already passed the resolution overwhelmingly. Senate approval was the final stage in the process, including the formal over-ruling of objections by the state fo Nevada, and paves the way for the Dept of Energy to file a licence application with the NRC (Nuclear Regulatory Commission) and begin developing a transport strategy.

It is also a turning point in a long political battle. The establishing of a repository has implications for national security and the weapons programme as well as energy security and despite a long campaign by environmental groups and the state of Nevada, the Senate vote was eventually decided by a bi-partisan grouping of senators from all over the USA. A motion to proceed with the resolution was passed by 60 votes to 39, in the face of which the resolution itself was passed without a formal vote.