NRC allows closure of Yucca Mountain nuclear dump

WASHINGTON (AP) -- A divided Nuclear Regulatory Commission has allowed the Obama administration to continue plans to close the controversial Yucca Mountain nuclear waste dump in Nevada.

The commission split, 2-2, on whether to uphold or reject a decision by an independent nuclear licensing board, which voted last year to reject the Energy Department's attempt to withdraw its application for Yucca Mountain. The licensing board said the government failed to make a scientific case for why the application should be withdrawn.

Despite the split vote, the NRC said in an order Friday that the licensing board should continue steps to close down Yucca Mountain by the end of the month.

The decision is a victory for NRC Chairman Gregory Jaczko, who has worked to close the dump since becoming chairman in 2009.

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