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Letter to editor

Yucca Mountain opposition inculcates complacency

In his May 3rd letter, Ralph Bazan stated that “Every nation on the planet that generates nuclear power must confront the problem of waste disposal.”

The April 12 issue of The Economist magazine commends Finland for taking the lead establishing a centralized repository in a stable geographic location similar to Yucca Mountain. This involves much less handling and risk than somehow moving the dry casks overland to a coastal location for transfer onto a ship, then unloaded … where???? Blasted off into space.

Also in the May 3rd issue is an article about census data indicating Nye County to be the poorest in Nevada, with household incomes 20 percent below the statewide average. DOE’s repository would be a more powerful economic shot in the arm than vague references by Mr. Bazan to the Pahrump Valley being “on the cusp of an economic boom.”

Nevada politicians pounding their chests in opposition to Yucca Mountain have inculcated a dangerous sense of complacency about the current inventory of hazardous materials in and around the Nevada National Security Site.

High-level waste is now under temporary burial arrangements out there. Lower-level radioactive waste continues to be trucked through Pahrump. A calamity was narrowly averted when a fire at the US Ecology dump near Beatty risked exposing plutonium and radioactive isotopes of uranium. Only a project on the scale of Yucca Mountain offers permanent storage for these materials and shifts their transportation onto a rail line that would be extended from the north. That is a win-win for national security and the environment.

Bill Stremmel

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