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Yucca Mountain was dead—to begin with. There was no doubt whatsoever about that. The register of its burial was signed by the Senator, the Chairman, the Secretary, and the President.

Now three Senators, maybe four, were left to pick up the pieces.

On one bitterly cold Christmas Eve, these Senators gathered round a fire to discuss the nation’s predicament. Imbibing Christmas cheer, the soaring rhetoric meandered from interim storage to nuclear waste finance and new government entities. But each topic was met with a “bah humbug” from the others.

The debate went on for hours—well past midnight. Enthusiastic oratory tapered first to a murmur and then to silence as each Senator fell asleep where he sat, heads cricked sideways in contented slumber.

But suddenly, the Senators were awoken by a strange presence in the chamber.

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