It’s not just the Finnish government that are hurry to make nuclear decisions. With the clock ticking on the Bush administration, it seems that outgoing energy officials are trying to get long term decisions made on nuclear waste storage before the sceptical Barack Obama is sworn in.

The Department of Energy is calling for a large expansion of Nevada’s Yucca Mountain nuclear waste storage facility or the establishment of a second site. Obama is notable for his opposition to Yucca Mountain (which is 20 years over budget and 20 years late), making to difficult to see him backing either option.

While the Energy Department is in a hurry, some are calling to slow things down. This week, a public vote in Illinois’s Oak Park, Berwyn and Riverside suburbs overwhelmingly called for the phase-out of nuclear power in favour of renewable sources. Illinois is Obama’s home state and has more nuclear reactors than any other.

In the single paragraph devoted to nuclear in Obama’s ‘New Energy For America’ plan calls for ‘safe and secure nuclear energy’. Does the technology even exist to ensure that demand (if that’s what it is)?

We wait to see how strong Obama’s insistence is and how long it lasts. He took campaign funding from Illinois nuclear company and has amended legislation in the company’s favour, a fact no doubt noted by nuclear lobbyists around the country.

Whatever happens, it would seem the problem of what to do about America’s nuclear industry begins the in the new president’s own back yard.