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Stop Yucca

Don't Dump on Nevada!

Paraphrased by Steve Waldrop
From an article written by Geoff Schumacher of the Las Vegas Mercury
May 3, 2002

Citizens of Nevada unite! Your state needs you. The fight against Yucca Mountain must not only be fought by state politicians and environmental groups, but by every citizen that has concerns over the federal government's plan to bury 77,000 tons of high-level nuclear waste 90 miles from Las Vegas.

The case against Yucca Mountain is strong. In spite of the enormous coverage that Yucca Mountain has received in the Nevada news media for at least the last 15 years, the national media has just now begun to give the story prominent play.

Citizens are becoming aware of the government's plan to make tens of thousands of shipments of deadly radioactive waste through at least 43 states to Nevada. What would happen if an accident or terrorist attack involving the transportation of the radioactive waste occurred in your community?

In February of this year, U.S. Secretary of Energy recommended the Yucca Mountain site to President Bush citing "sound science" and "compelling national interests.
" In making his recommendation Abrahams said that, "irrespective of any other considerations, I could not and would not recommend the Yucca Mountain site without having first determined that a repository at Yucca Mountain will bring together the location, natural barriers, and design elements necessary to protect the health and safety of the public."

But Yucca Mountain is not an ideal location to store nuclear waste. The mountain, located north of Las Vegas is highly susceptible to earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. The mountain is porous, raising the fears that radiation may leak into the groundwater. There is a great deal of concern that the Department of Energy is unprepared to safely store the high-level waste for 10,000 years.

Even former president Bill Clinton appears to be joining the campaign to stop Yucca Mountain. Speaking to an audience of approximately 6,000 during a lecture series at UNLV on Monday, Mr. Clinton said that if he were still president he would not approve Yucca Mountain as the nation's nuclear waste repository until unanswered scientific questions were solved.

"I just think it's a mistake. I don't think it can be justified on the merits," said the former president.

Governor Kenny Guinn has vetoed President Bush's plan. In his "notice of disapproval", or veto message, the governor had this to say: "The scientific uncertainties of the Yucca Mountain project are so numerous as to defy enumeration. Attempting to count them all, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission recently identified 293 unresolved technical issues in nine critical areas.Though the DOE dismissed these as trivial, perfunctory or problems that will be solved 'as we go' over the next 300 years, their mere specification belies this claim."

On April 25, Governor Guinn testified before the House Transportation Committee on Yucca Mountain. However, the U.S. Senate is not scheduled to vote on the issue until later this year. Many senators are in favor of dumping the nuclear waste at Yucca Mountain and will vote to override Governor Guinn's veto. By some estimates opponents would need at least 15 more votes in the senate to avoid a veto override.

What can Nevada do to help secure these needed votes? The state is spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to run television commercials in targeted states hoping to change the minds of those senators representing those states to vote with Nevada. This effort seems to be having some effect. Applying political pressure through TV ads, phone calls, letters, e-mails and faxes, remains an effective method to force political change.

Every citizen in Nevada needs to show their support against Yucca Mountain. Contact your U.S. senators and congressmen. Put the pressure on them to take a stand against making Nevada a dumping ground.

Contribute financially and volunteer your time to anti-nuclear organizations. Remember, the nuclear industry has its allies and more money! Now is the time to stand up and be counted. Don't allow Nevada to become a graveyard for nuclear waste!

For information on Governor Guinn's "How to Protect Nevada Fund"

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