Las Vegas Sun

August 2, 2015

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Letter to the editor:

Give nuclear storage a fair look

The Sun’s Sunday editorial, “Kill the zombie,” says it is beyond time to quit playing politics and kill the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste project. But I have yet to see valid scientific and economic conclusions supporting this viewpoint.

If the spent nuclear fuel is chemically inert and insoluble in water, there is essentially no risk that it would contaminate groundwater even if the containers leaked and the desert became a rain forest. The risk of transporting it to Yucca Mountain would be less than for chlorine or many of the other hazardous materials now shipped on our railroads.

And the financial rewards to the state could be significant. The nuclear power industry is paying $750 million a year into the Nuclear Waste Fund for disposal of spent fuel rods, which could be a windfall that would more than cover Nevada’s budget needs.

The Yucca Mountain project is politically unpopular, but it at least deserves a fair evaluation. It would be shortsighted to kill it without completely understanding the risks and benefits.

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