Las Vegas Sun

April 19, 2019

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Attorney who led Nevada’s Yucca Mountain fight retiring

CARSON CITY — The attorney who has led Nevada’s legal battle against the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository is retiring.

For 18 years, Senior Deputy Attorney General Marta Adams has overseen hundreds of briefs opposing the repository.

Adams, who has worked for the state 28 years, handled water and environmental issues before becoming joining the Office of Nuclear Projects.

There have been some victories and setbacks along the way.

Nevada scored a “big win” in 2004 in challenging radiation standards proposed by the federal government, Adams said. But it faced a setback when a court directed the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to continue its consideration of the Energy Department’s application to license the Yucca Mountain project, she said.

President Barack Obama’s recent designation of 704,000 acres in Nye and Lincoln counties as a national monument is another positive and creates another roadblock to the repository, Adams said.

Robert Halstead, director of the Office of Nuclear Projects, said the president’s action “puts a nail in the coffin” of a plan for a proposed rail line through the area to haul nuclear waste to Yucca Mountain. The rail line is not compatible with the national monument designation, he said.

Adams credited Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., for seeing funding cut for the project, though there are now bills pending in Congress to appropriate money to continue moving the process forward.

No replacement has been named for Adams.

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