Andrew Yang, the 2020 Campaign, and Yucca Mountain

The Story:

Most of the Democratic Party’s declared candidates for President have announced their opposition to the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste project, in Nye County, Nevada. There is one conspicuous exception, long-shot candidate Andrew Yang, who is an enthusiastic supporter of commercial nuclear power.

Background:

Yang, the child of immigrants from Taiwan, is an entrepreneur who launched Stargiving.com in 2000. This was an internet platform for philanthropic fundraising. Stargiving was not a great success. Yang had a better outcome later as the CEO of Manhattan Prep, a test preparation company, which under Yang’s leadership expanded from five to 69 locations. Yang resigned from Manhattan Prep in 2012, after it had been acquired by Kaplan.

Yang has been running for President since November 2017. He is hard to pin down in conventional left/right terms. For example his support for a Universal Basic Income would usually be seen as leftward. But his support for the nuclear power industry might get him pegged as on the right. As the candidate himself has said: “Not Left, Nor Right, Forward.”

The Thing to Know:

Yucca Mountain has been a very polarizing issue in Nevada for many years, at least since the project was first approved by Congress in 2002. (It was shelved in 2011, but under President Trump the Department of Energy has put the matter back on the table.)

Nevada has an early position in the campaign calendar next year.It holds its caucus on February 22, just 11 days after the New Hampshire primary.

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