Las Vegas Sun

May 24, 2019

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Letter to the editor:

Nuclear debate is not binary

Why do we debate whether Nevada should accept nuclear waste from sites all over the United States? Can we look at this debate in a different light? These “spent fuel rods” actually contain approximately 95 percent of the uranium they started with; only 3 to 5 percent has been used. Why would we bury 95 percent of this valuable fuel for a million years while other countries, such as France, have been recycling this so-called “waste” since the 1970s? France’s 59 reactors generate 80 percent of the country’s electricity from these spent nuclear fuel rods, with zero accidents.

Why transport reusable fuel rods by train or truck through our cities when air travel is our safest form of transportation? Let’s use military transports to transport this valuable “waste” to Yucca Mountain for recycling.

Let’s establish a carbon-free energy recycling center, not a storage dump. We are looking at old technology with this debate; let’s learn from the Ph.D.’s in the field of nuclear physics, not the politicians with votes to gain. Let’s deal with facts, not fear, as fear comes from what one does not understand.

When Yucca Mountain tours were offered years ago, the buses were always full, as people were interested. If a safe, clean, carbon-free energy center were established, it would be a win-win for Nevada. People would flock here, not only for our casinos and night life, but to tour the center. It would also bring high-paying jobs and billions of dollars in revenue to our state.