Court tosses Yucca Mountain challenge for now

A federal appellate court has dismissed a lawsuit that challenged the Energy Department’s decision to abandon the proposed Yucca Mountain nuclear waste dump.

The court ruling Friday is at least a temporary victory for the Obama administration, which is under fire from Capitol Hill Republicans over its decision to walk away from the long-planned – and long-delayed – waste repository in Nevada.

The states of Washington and South Carolina, which store waste and spent nuclear fuel, filed the suit and have the backing of a major nuclear industry trade group.

But a three-judge panel for the U.S. Court of Appeals for District of Columbia Circuit on Friday dismissed the case as “premature,” because the Nuclear Regulatory Commission is still weighing the Energy Department’s attempt to withdraw its license application for the Yucca project.