Las Vegas Sun

October 21, 2017

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Nevada poised to fight Yucca Mountain nuclear waste dump

CARSON CITY — Nevada is poised to thwart a federally proposed high-level nuclear waste dump at Yucca Mountain, but there could be battles ahead in Congress, a lawyer leading the fight said.

“We are in good shape,” said Marta Adams, a private attorney hired to fight the legal battle, told the state Board of Examiners today. Experts were ready to testify at any hearings by the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission, she said.

Adams fought against the Yucca Mountain project for 20 years with the Nevada Attorney General’s Office before she retired. She received a $300,000 contract as a private attorney to continue the battle, and that amount was raised to $450,000 a year by the Board of Examiners. This is federal money.

President Donald Trump’s administration has included $120 million in its budget for the Federal Regulatory Commission to restart hearings on licensing Yucca Mountain.

Gov. Brian Sandoval, chairman of the Board of Examiners, said the federal government was trying to do “an end run” around the authority of the state. He said the site sits atop an aquifer, and the stored radioactive material could get into the water.

Adams said the Nuclear Regulatory Commission is not as ready as it thinks it is to begin the licensing process, with hearings that could last five years. She said the Nevada Legislature stands behind the state’s opposition.