COLUMBIA -- South Carolina's attorney general said Wednesday that he plans to press federal regulators to stick to long-standing plans to open a Nevada repository for thousands of tons of nuclear waste, much of which would come from a former weapons plant near the Georgia line.

Henry McMaster, the state's top lawyer, said he will file a petition this week asking the Nuclear Regulatory Commission for permission to intervene in a dispute over the Yucca Mountain site.

"South Carolina has a vested interest in insuring that the Yucca Mountain licensing proceedings continue, so that the spent fuel and other nuclear material now being temporarily stored in our state will be safely placed in the Yucca Mountain repository, as mandated by the United States Congress," McMaster said in a statement released Wednesday.

For two decades, the proposed site 90 miles northwest of Las Vegas has been targeted to house the nation's high-level nuclear waste, including more than 4,000 metric tons of waste from the federal Savannah River Site in South Carolina. For now, high-level waste is stored at 80 sites around the nation.

President Barack Obama, who pledged on the campaign trail to close Yucca Mountain, announced last week that his latest budget pulls the plug on the site's funding.