Las Vegas Sun

April 25, 2019

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Gov. Sandoval blindsided by Rick Perry’s remarks on Yucca Mountain

Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval has responded to a suggestion from the country’s energy secretary that the Nevada Test Site could work as an interim storage site for nuclear waste.

Department of Energy Secretary Rick Perry spoke to lawmakers today during a House Appropriations Energy and Water Subcommittee budget hearing. He said interim storage should be done while working toward getting the Yucca Mountain project up and running again.

Perry mentioned the Western Isolation Pilot Plant in New Mexico, the Waste Control Specialists company in Texas, and the Nevada Test Site in Nevada’s Nye County.

“I’m not wanting to stir something up here just for the sake of stirring something up, but if we’re truly looking for the proper places to interimly store some waste, that test site has the potential to do that as well,” Perry said.

Sandoval said in a statement released after the comments were made that this suggestion is “a complete blindside” that ignores the historical process.

“The idea of storing high-level nuclear waste at the National Security Site is ill-conceived, irresponsible, and likely illegal,” Sandoval said. “This is a prime example of federal overreach and Nevada will pursue every legal option at our disposal.”

The governor said he has directed Nevada Attorney General Adam Laxalt to weigh in on possible legal actions to prevent the use of the test site as an interim facility.

“This is further than even the most fervent pro-Yucca advocates have gone and like Yucca Mountain, this idea is a non-starter,” he said. “Let me be clear, no part of Nevada will be home to the world’s most toxic waste and we will fight every effort that puts our citizens at risk.”

Republican Sen. Dean Heller said Perry’s remarks were a blatant disregard for Nevada, adding he told Perry Nevada will not serve as a nuclear dump site.

Cy Ryan contributed to this report.

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