Appeals court hears arguments over Yucca Mountain

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WASHINGTON (AP) -- A federal appeals court is considering whether it can force the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to move forward on a licensing plan for a disputed nuclear waste dump at Nevada's Yucca Mountain.

An attorney for the state of Washington says the NRC broke the law last fall when it allowed the Obama administration to continue plans to close the controversial site, 90 miles northwest of Las Vegas.

The NRC cited "budgetary limitations" imposed by Congress in approving the shutdown.

Andy Fitz, a lawyer for the Washington attorney general's office, said the NRC violated a 1987 law designating Yucca Mountain as a national repository for nuclear waste.

A lawyer for the NRC said the order reflected reality, since the Obama administration canceled the project and Congress did not appropriate money for it.