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A court’s order: Obey the law

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Nowadays the federal government leavens its usual quotient of incompetence with large dollops of illegality. This is eliciting robust judicial rebukes, as when, last week, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia instructed the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to stop “flouting the law.” Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh said: “It is no overstatement to say that our constitutional system of separation of powers would be significantly altered if we were to allow executive and independent agencies to disregard federal law in the manner asserted in this case.”

For six decades the nation has been studying the challenge of safely storing nuclear waste from weapons production, Navy vessels and civilian power plants. So far, more than $15 billion has been spent developing a waste repository system (in the 1980s, a Nevada senator misnamed it a waste “suppository”) deep within Yucca Mountain 90 miles northwest of Las Vegas.

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