Defenders and foes of the Dept. of Energy’s planned nuclear waste repository under Nevada’s Yucca Mountain continue their debate. Edward F. Sproat III, head of DOE’s office of civilian waste management, told the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee on Oct. 31 that the agency still intends to file a license application for the facility with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission by June 30.

Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.) says the project has cost $6 billion so far and he is not prepared to back an alternative until the Yucca Mountain plan gets “a fair, thorough and transparent review” from the NRC. Sen. John Ensign (R-Nev.) claims the project likely will cost “closer to $100 billion” than to the current $60-billion estimate. He says that the project is “dead.”