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NRC chair rejects call to recuse from Yucca case

WASHINGTON — The chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Allison Macfarlane, said Monday she intends to take part in decision-making on the Yucca Mountain project, rejecting a call that she recuse herself.

Attorneys for Nevada’s Nye County, which supports revival of the nuclear waste site, had requested Macfarlane step aside from weighing a Yucca Mountain license. They cited her previous writings and public statements as a geologist and college professor in which she expressed skepticism about the site 100 miles northwest of Las Vegas.

In a 14-page response, Macfarlane said: “I can state unequivocally that I have not reached any conclusions and I have an open mind. ”

Macfarlane, who was Senate-confirmed to the NRC last year and reconfirmed this summer, said her role as a scientist was intended to spark debate and further research. As a regulator, her job is to review all positions and determine whether a license would satisfy legal safety regulations.

On that count, Macfarlane said, she has not looked at the site’s license application, NRC staff work conducted so far, nor the NRC rules that would govern the agency’s decision-making.

“One of my most important duties as a member of the commission is to ensure that our adjudicatory process is conducted fairly and impartially, and I am fully committed to fulfilling that duty — I owe the public no less,” she said.

Macfarlane issued her decision the night before she was scheduled to testify before a U.S. House committee on how the NRC was responding to a court order to resume license proceedings for the proposed nuclear waste site.

Plan for medical waste treatment plant draws public outcry

A proposal by MediWaste Disposal LLC to bring a medical waste treatment facility to the valley has touched off a wave of public unrest, with a crowd of Pahrump residents flocking to the latest Nye County Commission meeting to express their displeasure.

3 motorcyclists killed in US 95 crash near Goldfield

Three motorcyclists who died in a crash along US 95 about 2 miles south of Goldfield last week have been identified as Benny Hall, 52, of Tonopah; Jeffery Hicks, 72, of Goldfield; and Frank Winkler, 54, of Linton, Ind.

How Pahrump is remembering its heroes this Memorial Day weekend

Though it has become widely known as the unofficial kickoff of summer, two local veterans’ organizations are helping ensure the real meaning of Memorial Day is not lost among the fun of pool parties and cookouts.

Groundbreaking set for new Tonopah elementary school

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Nye schools seek retirees to fill some critical vacancies

Even as school officials announced the retirement of more than a dozen teachers and other personnel on Monday night, they hope some veteran workers and retirees will consider returning to fill essential roles in the district.

GALLERY: Pinkbox Pahrump grand opening

When asked why Pahrump, owner of Pinkbox Stephen Siegel responds with, “why not?”

Fire destroys property, vehicles on Our Road

No injuries were reported after fire consumed two structures and vehicles on Sunday, May 19, just after 12:30 p.m.

RENDERING: Rhyolite Ridge gains formal county support

The Bureau of Land Management published its draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the Rhyolite Ridge Lithium-Boron project in April, triggering another crucial step forward for the planned mining operation – the public comment period. The deadline to submit is June 3.