Las Vegas Sun

May 6, 2021

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Sun editorial:

Should nuclear waste be dumped here? Sound off on Yucca Mountain


John Locher/Associated Press file

Participants in a 2015 congressional tour of Yucca Mountain enter the project’s south portal. The site is near the Nevada town of Mercury, about 90 miles northwest of Las Vegas.

Few ideas are so bad that they can legitimately be labeled as potentially catastrophic, but that term fits the proposed Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository like a brightly glowing glove.

So Friday, when a legislative panel conducts a public hearing on the monstrosity of a project, Southern Nevada residents will have an opportunity to sound off on just how terrible it would be to have this nuclear outhouse in our backyard.

The Legislative Committee on High-Level Radioactive Waste set the hearing to gather input from Nevadans on the project, which became the subject of renewed discussion in Congress last year after President Donald Trump included funding for it in his proposed budget.

Congress failed to follow through on the budget request, and the project remains stalled. However, proponents haven’t given up, and Trump’s support means that revival efforts will continue.


The meeting will take place at 12:30 p.m. Friday in Room 4412 of the Grant Sawyer Building, 555 E. Washington Ave., Las Vegas

So here we go again, Las Vegas. For the umpteenth time since the 1980s, when the project emerged from whatever dark room was also the birthplace of such terrifying ideas as atomic airplanes and above-ground nuclear testing, Southern Nevadans have to defend the region.

And defend we must, because the project hasn’t gotten any less insane with age. The dumpsite could contaminate groundwater, release radioactivity into the air and cripple Las Vegas if just one accident or incident of sabotage would occur along the routes that would carry the highly radioactive waste straight through the heart of the community.

This isn’t just a NIMBY issue, either. The transportation routes would cut through 44 states and subject millions of Americans to the potential effects of a spill.

To its discredit, the committee hasn’t exactly made it easy for the public to attend the meeting. The noon hour on a Friday might be a great time to grab lunch at work or rush out for a quick haircut, but it’s an inconvenient time for most people to spend at a public comment hearing.

On such a critical issue, any public hearings should be in the evening. Setting one at 12:30 p.m. on a Friday smacks of trying to sneak it under the radar.

But to any Las Vegas resident who can make it and help snuff out this terrible idea, here’s a tip of the hat in advance.

For those who can’t attend but would like to make their opinions known, contact information for the committee members can be found by visiting here and clicking on the “Members” tab.

Please note that individuals who would like their comments to be added to the record are asked to contact the secretary of the committee and provide the comments in writing. To contact the committee staff, call 775-684-6825.

If you can’t make it but would like to hear the testimony, the meeting will be streamed online. It can be viewed by visiting here and clicking on the link “calendar of meetings/view.”

Editor’s note: Anyone who would like to share their opinions on Yucca Mountain with the community is invited to email them to Ric Anderson, editorial page editor, at [email protected], or mail them to Greenspun Media Group, attn. Ric Anderson, 2275 Corporate Circle, Henderson NV 89074.