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Friday
Nov202015

State of Nevada refuses to be "screwed" by half-baked attempt to revive cancelled Yucca Mountain radioactive waste dump

Native Community Action Council bumper stickerRobert J. Halstead, the Executive Director of the State of Nevada's Agency for Nuclear Projects, serving under the Office of the Governor, Brian Sandoval, has submitted comments to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) on the agency's Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SDEIS) on Yucca Mountain. The comments comprise powerful pushback against the half-baked attempt to revive the cancelled Yucca Mountain radioactive waste dump. The chief judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit has called the entire NRC SDEIS proceeding "a useless act," a multi-million dollar waste of time, energy, and taxpayer resources, not to mention public involvement.

Thus, the State of Nevada continues its tradition of resistance to the high-level radioactive waste dump that began with the "Screw Nevada bill" of 1987, the most common name for the Amendments to the Nuclear Waste Policy Act that singled out Nevada as the only site to be further studied for high-level radioactive waste disposal, despite its scientific unsuitability, known to the U.S. Department of Energy since the early 1980s. The "Screw Nevada bill," orchestrated by more politically powerful states also targeted for the country's first repository (Texas, Washington, and many in the East and Midwest), abandoned a process of scientific integrity and regional equity (90% of the commercial irradiated nuclear fuel in the U.S. is located in the eastern half of the country!), embracing raw politics instead.

As long-time, leading anti-Yucca dump advocate, Dr. Arjun Makhijani of IEER has put it, Yucca is the most unsuitable site for an irradiated nuclear fuel repository ever studied. The only way the dump project was repeatedly kept on life support for decades on end was by way of "double-standard standards," Dr. Makhijani has pointed out. That is, if Yucca could not meet the standards, they were either weakened or done away with.

Nevada's comments included appendices prepared by the Native Community Action Council, and Timbisha Shoshone Tribe, whose members live downstream of Yucca Mountain, and would drink the massive releases of hazardous radioactivity that would occur into the groundwater, if the dump is ever opened.