The Las Vegas newspaper carried a news story about Rep. Cresent Hardy saying he was open to discussion about whether Yucca Mountain should be used to store nuclear waste, as well as an op-ed by the congressman explaining his stance, and a follow-up in the Monday paper.
Where have I heard that before?
Oh, yes, right here more than a month ago, when the freshman congressman said he had been talking with constituents from White Pine, Nye and Lincoln counties and found they are open to discussion about the future of Yucca Mountain.
“I think Nevada needs to be in that discussion,” Hardy said. “We need to be involved in it. I’ll never agree to have it shoved down our throats, but I think we need to be involved. If its got to come here, this is the best safety issue for it, then we need to be looking at the opportunities that we may have, if they’re there.”
In fact, Rep. Mark Amodei, who represents of the other half of rural Nevada, said he thinks there will be a vote on Yucca Mountain this session and suggests the state’s leaders need to engage in a conversation instead of “just screaming, no.” He said he is willing to talk about funding for I-11 from Phoenix to Las Vegas, putting resources into reprocessing research at UNLV, economic development in rural Nevada and involving the Desert Research Institute in the monitoring of the site.
“We’re not looking for ‘Hey, how much can we hold you up for.’ If you think this is bound and determined where it needs to be, and 49 other states are in on that deal,” he said, “let’s leave a favorable footprint in Nevada. Nobody wants a nuclear landfill, so what can you do to make it not a nuclear landfill in the context of economic development.”
I don’t think either of them is suggesting the federal government do what it once planned to do: Fill the tunnels in Yucca Mountain with nuclear waste and then roll stone in front of it, post a few warning signs and walk away. One alternative might be to store in dry casks on the surface. That works elsewhere. Nuclear waste could eventually be resource to be reprocessed, which could provide jobs and economic benefits.
But Harry Reid, Dean Heller and Brian Sandoval just keep screaming, no.
Reid released a statement chastising Hardy for deigning to suggest discussions:
“Rep. Hardy is living in a world that doesn’t exist. Opening the door to a nuclear dump Nevada is not something I will ever accept. Yucca Mountain is not ‘an issue that long ago lost its middle.’ When it comes to protecting the health and safety of Nevadans from a potential environmental catastrophe, there is no benefit worth bargaining for. Nevada’s own experts, the Nuclear Waste Project Office, have worked for years with scientists and technical experts to reveal that Yucca Mountain is a highly risky, half-baked proposal riddled with technical flaws that guarantee eventual failure.”