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COMMUNITY VIEWPOINT: Support the process and law allowing for full Yucca discussion

Dear Legislators and County Commissioners,

Governor Sandoval and Former Senator Bryan’s arguments proffered in Sunday’s Las Vegas Review-Journal (April 12) hinge on their unsubstantiated assertion that “…Yucca Mountain is an unsafe place for storing or disposing of deadly nuclear waste…” If you believe the facts support that assertion, then you should have no objection to allowing the Atomic Safety and Licensing Board process to continue as that process is provided in law for that specific purpose.

However, suggesting the selection of Yucca Mountain was “purely political” falls short of being accurate. It was a political decision, and it was also a technically informed decision.

Of the final three sites considered, Yucca Mountain ranked the highest of the three. And yes, Nevada was politically vulnerable at the time. Ironically, considering the fact that 39 states are seeking a solution to waste disposal and that national politics are once again about to change, Nevada remains vulnerable.

Over the past three decades, Nevada’s leaders have tried to stop the Yucca Mountain repository and have attempted to convince Nevadans to oppose the project by creating false impressions related to safety. The truth is that DOE’s scientists and the scientists from our National Laboratories have been instrumental in the safety analysis that shows the Yucca Mountain repository to be safe. Independent scientists working for the NRC issued a five-volume safety report that concludes the Yucca Mountain repository would meet all safety requirements by a wide margin.

It is easy to see there are two sides to the story that is Yucca Mountain. The best way to settle this argument once and for all is to support the very process and the law that allows for a full discussion of the facts and evidence presented by all of the parties involved.

It is up to us to have that discussion and it is up to our leaders at both the state and federal levels to allow the process to move forward.

Nevadans deserve better from their leaders.

Rather than being “unalterably opposed” as Senator Bryan has stated since 1983, they should welcome all the science and allow it to be fully vetted before turning down a project that could very well bring a whole new industry to the this state. Please stand up for the rule of law and ask that the science be heard so that the safety can be evaluated, not by politicians, but by the scientists that are tasked by law to decide this issue.

Dan Schinhofen is in his second term as a Nye County Commissioner and supports Yucca Mountain as a nuclear waste repository.

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