“The candidates don’t want to come to Nevada and be labeled pro-Yucca,” University of Las Vegas political scientist David Damore said.

Yucca_MountainRepublican presidential candidates are facing a dilemma on Yucca Mountain: oppose the nuclear waste repository and trigger a Tea Party backlash, or support it and risk alienating Nevada voters.

The Nevada caucus, which is scheduled for Feb. 18 — after Iowa and New Hampshire — could go a long way in determining the GOP presidential nominee in 2012.

In contrast to GOP leaders in Congress, Jon Huntsman, Tim Pawlenty, Gary Johnson and Ron Paul have all come out in opposition to storing the nation’s nuclear waste at Yucca Mountain. Other Republican candidates, including Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum and Michele Bachmann, have ripped the Obama administration’s effort to close Yucca. Mitt Romney, who won the 2008 Nevada GOP caucus, has not taken a firm stance on the controversial issue.

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Source: Jake Interrante | The Hill