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October 21, 2018

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In D.C., Goodman highlights dangers of transporting nuclear waste

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Mikayla Whitmore

Mayor of Las Vegas Carolyn G. Goodman speaks during a special ceremony by the United Soccer League at Zappos Corporate Office in Downtown Las Vegas, Nev. on Aug. 11, 2017.

Nuclear waste coming to Nevada from all corners of the country would be dangerous, Las Vegas’ mayor told bipartisan city leaders in Washington, D.C.

Mayor Carolyn Goodman was in the capital for the U.S. Conference of Mayors winter meetings. She spoke to fellow members about the nation’s aging infrastructure and other risks associated with bringing nuclear waste to Nevada, where a proposed repository at Yucca Mountain has been a political football for years. The American Society of Civil Engineers gives the nation’s infrastructure an average D+ rating.

“Anywhere it’s transported is at risk because of the tunnels, the bridges, the railroads, the roads,” she said. “An accident ... puts millions and millions of people around the country at risk for loss of life, cancer and everything else.”

The conference of mayors has expressed concern about the transportation of nuclear waste since as early as 2002, although the group has not explicitly come out against the dumpsite. Goodman said she is talking to mayors at this winter’s meetings and working to get a resolution passed.

“You have to tell them that this stuff is being transported through their city or 50 miles away and the spill-out from an accident” will impact them, she said.

The mothballed Yucca Mountain project could see movement under President Donald Trump, who has called for funding to prepare for the licensing process. The proposed project stalled years ago under President Barack Obama and then-Sen. Harry Reid, a Nevada Democrat.

Henderson Mayor Debra March and Bob Halstead, executive director of the Nevada Agency for Nuclear Projects, were among the Nevada contingent to hold the reception. Halstead and Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev., spoke to the audience about concerns associated with the project. Rep. Mark Amodei, R-Nev., is the only member of Nevada’s delegation who has not signed onto legislation calling for consent-based siting for nuclear waste storage.

“The issues are very very concerning,” Goodman said. “It’s not so much about Nevada as it is about the people throughout the country who are placing their residents and their visitors at risk.”