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April 05, 2005


A couple reactions. First, I'm surprised this has never generated the outrage of Nevadans that I assumed it would. Every poll I've ever seen shows that they don't like it, but they seem to have a fatalistic approach to it, and it didn't seem to hurt Bush all that much for having advocated it.

My other reaction is that suspending progress on developing the site seems to present a contradiction--if we need the facility because of a growing stockpile of nuclear waste, then what's going to happen to the nuclear waste that in the meantime is piling up?

This seems to be one of those cases where there doesn't seem to be any good solution (other than, from the perspective of the Bushies, leaving the problem for the next administration).


First of all, regarding outrage, I'm surprised too. People have been LOUDLY pissed off for years here in New Mexico regarding the WIPP site, which was meant for low-level waste, but Senator Pete Domenici (R) tried to get high-level waste stored there (he didn't succeed, but that's another story).

Secondly, regarding suspending the project... well, it's the "not in my backyard" thing. No one, absolutely NO ONE, wants that stuff anywhere near their state. It's a no-win situation, as far as I can see. Until there's foolproof way to store it, no one will want it.

People in Nevada don't get loud about much, but opposition to Yucca Mountain is one reason that Harry Reid can act as a Democrat to the degree he does.

The thing with Yucca Mountain is that operators of nuclear power plants do not want to store spent fuel on-site at reactors, because spent fuel storage is politically unpopular and they'd rather deal with one angry neighborhood than two hundred. (As the Yucca Mountain timetable slips, some folks are looking at the Skull Valley Goshute reservation in Utah's West Desert as an alternative, at least for the short term: the Goshutes are dirt-poor and there are only 25 of them.)

But there's nothing keeping the nuke operators from continuing to store the waste on-site, in the same casks that they'd ship to Nevada. And some of the nuke companies are starting to realize that even though they want a centralized dumpsite, they want even more to continue operating existing plants - and to try to commission new ones as long as a nuke-friendly cabal owns the Executive and Legislative branches. There's even a way in which on-site storage is preferable from an environmental standpoint. The casks are the same as the ones that would be used in Yucca Mountain, but they're out where they can be monitored for leaks. Also, they're not hauled from New Hampshire to Las Vegas on the interstates.

Oh, and this is just the falsification of science that has made the news. Whistleblowers have been hollering about falsification at Yucca Mountain for twenty years.

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