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Letters to the Editor

Local physicist says DOE lying about nuclear waste

Friends and neighbors, I’m a physicist living in Pahrump. The DOE’s claim that unwanted U-233 is low-level waste and safe is a huge lie. U-233 was created to be used to make nuclear weapons. It still could be, but it is not cost-effective compared to other materials. There’s a reason why they’re bringing it from Tennessee to Nye County, 30 pounds at a time, with very heavy lead and steel shielding, accompanied by many armed guards. Think about it. They’re going to make over 100 trips to ship about 3,000 pounds. This stuff is about as dangerous as it gets, Uranium-233 is a special nuclear material, and as such requires stringent safeguards, security and criticality controls.” (From a 2004 DOE Report.)

They are desperate to get it out of the eastern part of the U.S. The power of one nuclear weapon would be multiplied 100-fold if it hit this stockpile of fissile material. Moving it to Nye County is estimated to be $500,000,000 cheaper than storing it safely at Oak Ridge.

There is no way they could ever get away with such a reckless and irresponsible disposal plan at Oak Ridge. Please look up the report by Bob Alvarez on the internet addressing this completely unacceptable method of disposal, which essentially waives all existing safety and security requirements for handling U-233.

Yucca Mountain would be a safer place to temporarily store this material, but please don’t take this as an endorsement of the Yucca Mountain site as a good place to store the country’s high level nuclear waste. The geology of the Yucca Mountain site will not improve because we would like to have more jobs for our citizens.

Any studies claiming long term safety simply ignore the fact that we cannot predict future geologic events or climate changes, (except for Commissioner Schinhofen.)

For a number of years, the government has been burying ever more dangerous and radioactive materials at the test site. The term low-level waste now means exactly, and I mean exactly this: It’s whatever the DOE is desperate to move. They now call the test site, the National Security Site, and protesters will be domestic terrorists.

Insist that this material not be moved to Nye County. The danger of moving U-233 is insignificant compared to the danger of storing it in this ill-conceived manner.

Roger Herick


Resident concerned about next of kin being notified

I want to express my sincere thanks to reporter Mark Waite and the Pahrump Valley Times for the article in the Friday, Nov. 15 issue on “Sloppy handling of death has officials on hot seat”.

Residents of Nye County, citizens of Pahrump, if you live alone, even though you have next of kin posted on a wall, refrigerator, or wherever and have made all your final arrangements, unless your next of kin is notified first, it’s worthless.

Your valuables will be removed, vehicle impounded, bank accounts on hold and whoever you have listed to carry out your last wishes will be charged a fee.

My ‘incitement’, as Charlene from the public administrator’s office called it at our meeting with the officials at Spring Mountain Apartments is to have our own next of kin or whoever we have appointed be notified first. Let them make the decisions before it is taken out of their hands.

It was also stated at our meeting by the Nye County administrator that they are volunteers. Their pay comes from our assets they have secured, until our own next of kin is notified. Really! How soon is that going to happen? Even when we have that information posted in our homes, you see what happened to Margie Rigby.

I have been a resident of Nye County off and on since 1960 and personally witnessed what happened to Margie Rigby, Mary Dawson’s family many times.

Virginia Green

Concerned resident for deceaseds’ kin

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