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Yucca Mtn. Nuclear Dump Opponents Wary of New Federal Funding

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Friday, August 11, 2017   

NYE COUNTY, Nev. – Nevada conservation groups are slamming a move by the Trump administration this week to spend $110,000 to start the process of licensing a nuclear-waste repository at Yucca Mountain.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission will now start gathering documents and plans that go back 30 years but have lain dormant since 2010 when the Obama administration pulled funding.

David Von Seggern, executive committee chair of the Sierra Club, says instead, the feds should take a closer look at dry-cask storage at the nuclear plants themselves.

"We have put about $9 billion into the study of Yucca Mountain as a permanent repository," he says. "We have spent very little to study on-site storage at the current nuclear plants, and we should conduct studies."

Supporters of the Yucca Mountain site as a repository claim it is safe and would create jobs in Nye County.

However, the proposed dump, about 90 miles from Las Vegas, is opposed by the governor and most of the congressional delegation over fears that it could be vulnerable to earthquakes, pose dangers to the water supply and create an unacceptable risk as nuclear waste is transported by rail from sites around the country.

Rep. John Shimkus of Illinois introduced a bill in June to start funding a multi-year review of Yucca Mountain, to see if it meets EPA radiation safety standards.

John Hadder, director of the nonprofit group, Great Basin Resource Watch, warns other states may try to force this solution on Nevada.

"It's interesting to note that one of the proponents is the representative from Illinois, the state which produces almost the largest volume of commercial nuclear waste," Hadder notes. "So, they want to get rid of it real bad."

The Nevada Agency for Nuclear Projects says it's preparing a list of arguments in opposition to raise before the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, in case plans for the project move forward.


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