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Letters to the editor of the Pahrump Valley Times

State disputes information in Yucca Mountain column

Tim Burke’s “Yucca Mountain Transportation Scenarios Explored,” PVT September 14, 2018, is wrong on the facts. If Yucca Mountain were built, high-level nuclear waste would be shipped through Las Vegas for 50 years. DOE’s 2008 Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS) for Yucca Mountain says “2,650 truck casks and 755 rail casks would be shipped through Las Vegas.”

If there is no second repository, as Representative Shimkus suggested last year, the number of shipments through Las Vegas would jump to at least 1,876 rail casks and 5,025 truck casks. If DOE picks different cross-country routes to avoid the politics of shipping through Chicago, the nation’s rail hub, more than 15,000 rail casks could be shipped through Las Vegas.

Reactors in Louisiana, Texas, Arizona and California would ship spent nuclear fuel by rail through Barstow, California, then through downtown Las Vegas on the Union Pacific Railroad, to Caliente, on the way to Yucca Mountain. Those routes are shown in yellow on the attached map. All reactors shipping by truck would use I-15 from Arizona and California to Nevada, then use the northern and western portions of the Las Vegas Beltway (I-215) to connect with U.S. 95 to Yucca Mountain.

In the 2004 Record of Decision cited by Mr. Burke, DOE formally selected the Caliente corridor for construction, in spite of the adverse impacts on Las Vegas. The State of Nevada is currently challenging DOE’s selection of Caliente in a Federal lawsuit.

The Shimkus legislation mentioned by Mr. Burke does not require DOE to use routes from the North. However, DOE’s analysis shows that the Mina corridor, while avoiding Las Vegas, would route 1,963 rail casks through Reno and Sparks.

In the SEIS, DOE establishes 800 meters (one-half mile) from the center of the shipping route as the region of influence for impacts of routine radiation, and 80 kilometers (50 miles) as the region of influence for impacts of severe accidents and terrorist attacks. In the SEIS, DOE acknowledges the risk of severe transportation accidents and terrorist attacks, and estimates accident cleanup costs up to $10 billion if radioactive materials are released in an urban area.

In 2009, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission licensing boards admitted 16 State of Nevada contentions challenging the safety and security of Yucca Mountain transportation. If the full licensing proceeding resumes, Nevada will demonstrate that the adverse impacts of transportation would be far worse than those already acknowledged by DOE.


Robert J. Halstead, Executive Director

Nevada Agency for Nuclear Projects

Veteran, reserve deputy will no longer patronize Nike

On the evening of September 6th, while enjoying the first 2018 NFL regular season football game between the Philadelphia Eagles and the Atlanta Falcons, I observed a Nike commercial that highlighted the idea of “when you dream, dream big even if it costs you everything.”

There were images of people missing limbs giving their all in sporting events … not just life events. There was an image of a homecoming queen who was also a linebacker on the school’s football team. Other images showed additional amateur and professional athletes giving their all to dare to dream big. I completely enjoyed that portion of your message, very inspiring!

However, the next image completely disturbed me! The image and speaking role of former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick was 100 percent in contrast to the images of the previous athletes in the ad.

The American people aren’t stupid … you show these amazing people doing amazing things … not only daring to dream big but becoming larger than life pursuing their craft. Colin’s daring to “dream” has very little to nothing to do with his pursuit of excellence in the game of football. It has everything to do with protest of his perceived discrimination of police officers when dealing with black men. I won’t get into that debate here, but the NFL football field is entirely the wrong platform.

As of tonight’s game, this black man who is a 25.5 year veteran of the United States Air Force and a Reserve Deputy Sheriff for 14.5 years (who serves without compensation) as a way to give back and serve my community … will no longer patronize any Nike outlets.

You chose a spokesperson whose protests attempted to negate the sacrifices and hard work of millions of active-duty service men and women, veterans and law enforcement officers across the country.

In fact, I lost a friend in February of this year who was attempting to arrest a car thief. That is the definition of giving everything, even if it costs you EVERYTHING! Not the fact that you don’t get to play football because your protest didn’t resonate with the right people.

Former Nike customer,

Mr. Michael Waters

Removing political signs won’t change voters’ choice

This morning a political sign that had been posted in front of our home for sheriff candidate Sharon Wehrly had been ripped out of the ground and thrown over our fence into the front yard.

Now we respect other people’s views about religion and politics but really don’t understand how taking a sign down is supposed to change our voting decision. It hasn’t made a difference in who we intend to vote for but rather makes us more determined to vote.

If the person(s) who took the sign down would like to talk to us face to face and discuss the pros and cons of both sheriff’s candidates, please knock on our door. You know where we live!

P. Watson

Animal rescue thanks local Realtor for hospitality

Tails of Nye County would like to give a heartfelt thank you to Nevada Realty and all the wonderful people that work there. Also, a very special thank you is due for Ray Guin, Sheryl Hunter, Tasha Douglas and Molly Clark, who are the most ethical, honest and caring individuals I have met. I can’t thank this wonderful group of people enough for all they do, not only for Tails, but for the community as well.

Not many businesses would let us use their place as a meeting, drop-off and pick-up spot and sponsor us for so many events.

On a personal note I’d like to say directly to Ray that I know Nancy asks you to do many, many things for Tails, but who can say “no” to Nancy. You are truly a wonderful person and come from wonderful people. Thank you, thank you,

Denise Scherer,


Residents speak out in defense of brothel owner

We are continuing reading disparaging remarks regarding Mr. Hof, most recently the Notice of Violation filed against him. We, my husband and I, are wondering why Mr. Hof is singled out.

There were journalists in the courtroom prior to the session, all taking pictures along with Mr. Hof. As the bailiff called the court to order, all picture taking ceased, yet Mr. Hof is said to be in violation.

To us, this really sounds like a witch hunt. We feel the Nye County officials have an axe to grind and certainly seem to want to see to it that all negativity is published. There must be many good things Mr. Hof has accomplished.


Perry Silkwood and Frances Silkwood

Reader would like to see national sports coverage

We readers don’t hear one word about national sports in the sports section. Surely you could put the standings from the past Sunday in our paper – baseball, football, basketball, golf, auto racing – NHRA and NASCAR.

If we readers want to know about these things we have to buy a Las Vegas paper.

Instead of the second section being called sports it should be called the comics section because adults who have kids in school and play sports are the only readers.

Melvin Blackburn

Are the Nye County brothel wars starting again?

After 30 or so years, I started to reread my copy of “The Nye County Brothel Wars” by Jeannie Kasindorf. It’s about how the powers that be harassed brothel owner Walt Plankington to the point of a firebombing at the Chicken Ranch, with 14 people inside.

Now, 40 years later, the same thing is happening to Dennis Hof. It makes me wonder about Nye County.

Pete Wallace

Gubernatorial candidate waffles on rural water issue

In a show of determined indecisiveness, Steve Sisolak, a member of the Southern Nevada Water Authority board and candidate for governor of Nevada, voted Wednesday to move forward with an appeal of the Nevada State Water Engineer’s recent denial of SNWA’s applications to pump rural Nevada water to Las Vegas.

This political about-face came a mere two days after he was quoted in an article printed in the Nevada Independent coming out against the rural Nevada water grab. I find I need a spreadsheet to keep track of Sisolak’s positions because in 2017, he voted as a member of the same board to approve the district’s 50-year plan, which included the pipeline as a keystone in its strategy to deliver more water to the Las Vegas Valley. Confused? So am I.

Taking water from rural Nevada to support the unsustainable growth model in Las Vegas would have devastating ecologic, economic, and social impacts on Lincoln and White Pine counties. For Mr. Sisolak to play both sides of this critical issue in the name of advancing his campaign tells us everything we need to know about him personally, but nothing about his true position.

Joni Eastley

Tonopah, Nevada

Scientific investigation will determine Yucca’s suitability

The 10 AUG 18 letter to the Pahrump Valley Times by Mr. Walt Grudzinski presents critical commentary about the Yucca Mountain project without a full appreciation of the actual situation. The Pahrump Nuclear Waste and Environmental Advisory Committee supports the Nye County Board of Commissioners in matters including nuclear waste disposal.

Members of this committee have worked on the Yucca Mountain Project (YMP), worked at and volunteered as environmental management advisors to the NNSS (formerly the Nevada Test Site). Members have commented on the YMP siting process throughout the years and have kept up to date on underground water levels and flows, either locally or regionally through constant interaction with the United States Geological Society (USGS).

It is important to first note that when a commissioner speaks about “letting the science speak for itself,” contrary to the implication of Mr. Grudzinski, it is a statement that clearly means that even though the Nuclear Regulatory Commission staff has found that the Yucca Mountain site is likely to meet regulatory requirements, it is important to complete the licensing hearings to give an opportunity for others to present dissenting views to be heard. The congressionally-created Nuclear Regulatory Commission is an authoritative, independent, agency that was assigned responsibility to review and oversee the potential licensing of Yucca Mountain. That’s correct; no decision has been made to proceed with building the repository. That cannot happen until the Nuclear Regulatory Commission determines that there are no arguments contravening the case for the safety of a repository at Yucca Mountain.

Mr. Grudzinski makes a serious error in selecting a number of scientific parameters, selecting web pages that contain material that sounds as if it should be relevant, and concluding that the science of Yucca Mountain must pose a threat, in direct opposition to more than 30 years of scientific investigation overseen by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, presented in public meetings, and published in peer-reviewed journals. One cannot judge the suitability of a site for a repository by looking at single parameters – it is the behavior of the entire system taken together that must be assessed. Mr. Grudzinski errs in concluding that water in the Pahrump Valley would be at risk. The aquifer of the area in which Yucca Mountain is located is not connected to any water system in the Pahrump Valley. He further misses one of the most important attributes about a repository at Yucca Mountain – the repository would be located 1000 feet above the water table. That attribute was pointed out by the United States Geological Survey as one of the reasons Yucca Mountain could make the most suitable site.

Regarding waste containers made by the lowest bidder; yes, the procurements will be competitive. As they also are when bidding on building an aircraft carrier or jet aircraft for the government. What Mr. Grudzinski misses is that acceptance of a container for disposal will be subject to stringent requirements, again overseen by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

Finally, the seismicity of Southern Nevada was recognized even before study of the site began. While the actual area of Yucca Mountain is relatively seismically quiet (see work by the Nevada Seismological Laboratory on Earthquakes in Nevada, 1840s – 2012), the demonstrations of the acceptability of the Yucca Mountain site assume the occurrence of a far larger earthquake that has ever occurred there based on geological evidence.

The Pahrump Nuclear Waste and Environmental Advisory Committee has followed the science of the Yucca Mountain project for years, attended public meetings, posed intelligent questions of the scientists, and relayed our views to the Board of County Commissioners.

The committee does not profess to be security and intelligence consultants as the author has identified himself, but possibly, might be considered intelligent consultants who live and work in our valley. We have followed the process to site the repository from pre-EIS (Environmental Impact Statement) to the present and believe we can address issues pertaining to the Yucca Mountain site in a logical, non-bias way.

Speaking for the entire committee,

John Pawlak and Mary Duff

Co-chairs, Pahrump Nuclear Waste and Environmental Advisory Committee

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