Friday, Dec. 9, 2011 | 2:01 a.m.
Editor’s note: Rep. Joe Heck, R-Nev., has taken issue with a column I wrote last week and responded with a letter to the editor. What the congressman did not do, however, was reassure Nevadans who wonder if he is fighting every effort by the Republican-controlled House, of which he is a member, to breathe life back into the plans to make Yucca Mountain a radioactive waste dump. In my view, he needs to be emphatic that in no way will he let that camel’s nose get back under Nevada’s tent.
Rep. Heck’s response follows, and I welcome his next response, the one that speaks clearly on behalf of Nevadans and against the nuclear power industry’s efforts to undermine our safety and health. — Brian Greenspun
Brian Greenspun’s column regarding Yucca Mountain, "Killing Yucca Mountain would be a real gift," inaccurately illustrates my position on the subject. To be clear: I do not support Yucca Mountain as a long-term nuclear waste storage facility.
As the Las Vegas Sun reported on July 15, I voted against the Energy and Water Appropriations Act because, “the legislation continues funding a project that is unpopular and has long been considered dead, Yucca Mountain, despite other feasible options. We must move past ideas and technology from a bygone era and begin exploring options that will create jobs, and are supported by Nevadans.”
I have repeatedly stated that Yucca Mountain, as a long-term nuclear waste dump, is a “nonstarter, and that we should look at acceptable job-creating alternatives for the site.”
Sticking our country’s nuclear waste in a hole in the ground is a 20th century solution. Instead, we should encourage the use of 21st century technology. We have the opportunity to create a research and development park, a position that has been supported by others in this delegation — including Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.
Embracing 21st century solutions to the problems we face is critical to maintaining our nation’s economic and technological superiority. Given the history of Nevada’s nuclear test site, the available expertise and the infrastructure we possess, Nevada is uniquely suited to become the nation’s leader in research and development of nuclear energy. Creating a research and development park is one option, and I remain open to others.