Welcome to the ‘discussion’ about Yucca Mountain

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.

Department of Energy photo

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.”






10 comments on “Welcome to the ‘discussion’ about Yucca Mountain

  1. Rincon says:

    If not Nevada, then where?

  2. Steve says:

    How about….in the state where the waste was first produced?

  3. Rincon says:

    I count only 14 states without a nuclear power plant – and one is Idaho, which houses its waste from Argonne National Laboratory. That makes somewhere near 37 different nuclear waste disposal facilities if restricted to the state where the waste was generated. Only a bureaucrat or an ideologue would consider this a better alternative. And of course, using the same logic, the voters in each state would vote to put the waste disposal facilities at the plant where they were generated, which is where they are today anyway. Your “solution” is to just leave it all where it is and hope that none of the casks leak in your lifetime. As with many things, “let’s just pass the problem along to our kids and grandkids.”

    My solution would be to have the states “bid” for how much money they want to be paid in order to accept the waste. Low bidder gets the waste and the money from the others. The major rule though, would prohibit one state from placing its waste facility too close to an adjacent state or an aquifer that serves another state – unless the other state agrees.

  4. Rez says:

    The other advantage of surface-stored casks is that given regular inspections and an alarm system, you can address leaks immediately, not when it finally oozes out of the mineshaft some decades later (damage already done). And I agree that burying it may be burying a resource beyond reach (cuz if that shaft gets contaminated, you’re not gonna be able to retrieve it), while individual waste casks on the surface are effectively banked against future use and as noted visible for inspection and repair NOW, not next decade when it’s too late.

  5. nyp says:

    “Just Monday, researchers from the clinical lab Quest Diagnostics and Tulane University reported that the ACA contributed to a surge in people getting tested for and diagnosed with diabetes, one of America’s most preventable and costly medical conditions.
    A key factor, they said, was expanded enrollment in Medicaid, as permitted by the ACA and almost entirely funded by the federal government. In the 26 states and District of Columbia that expanded Medicaid, they found, diabetes diagnoses increased by 23% in 2014 compared with the previous year. “I cannot think of any other explanation except these people have now got health insurance,” Vivian Fonseca of Tulane, one of the researchers, told the Washington Post. That will produce a long-term gain, they said, because catching and managing diabetes earlier leads to better “long-term outcomes”–that is, healthier and longer lives.”

  6. Rincon says:

    Who gave you the idea that the casks would be inaccessible in Yucca? I don’t believe that to be the case. Casks have to be properly maintained for a thousand years or more. If that maintenance fails to occur, better for leaks to occur in one dry and geologically secure location than in a hundred locations above large aquifers and over seismic faults. I thought Conservatives weren’t big on NIMBY.

  7. The original plan was to bury it.

    Reid is NIMBY.

  8. Rincon says:

    “Once underground, each waste package would be placed on its own individual pallet, in one of dozens of miles of tunnels carved deep within the rock.” http://www.encyclopedia.com/topic/Yucca_Mountain.aspx

    They wouldn’t need dozens of miles of tunnels if they merely buried the waste. The statement suggests that the individual pallets are permanent, although that isn’t certain.

  9. This facility was designed and engineered for this purpose…it should be used. This is the solution to education problem everyone on the left is wringing their hands about and the citizens of Nevada should receive an annual stipend like the citizens in Alaska…as well!

  10. […] couple of Nevada delegates to D.C. have recently suggested that they are open to discussion of benefits for Nevada in exchange for opening Yucca […]

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