Guinn said he was the first governor ever to veto a decision by a president, having been granted the power to do so in a 1982 federal law on nuclear waste disposal.

"We have an uphill battle," said Guinn. "If the political system fails us, the court system will not." In his notice of disapproval, Guinn said that selection of Yucca Mountain was based on bad science, bad law, and bad public policy.

In February, George Bush formally chose Yucca Mountain as the permanent site to store long-term nuclear waste.