Las Vegas Sun

December 10, 2018

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Nuclear waste:

Sun readers write in droves: Say no to Yucca

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.

Not here. Not now. Not ever.

That was the loud-and-clear message from more than 100 Sun readers who responded to a recent invitation to make their voices heard on the proposed nuclear waste repository at Yucca Mountain.

Readers who opposed the project outnumbered supporters by a wide margin, while proponents were split between two general groups — those who believed the project should move forward as designed and those who made their support conditional in some way, such as repurposing the facility to reprocess nuclear waste as opposed to storing it.

Opponents cited several longstanding concerns about the project, including the possibility of seismic activity that could lead to the release of radioactive material, and the dangers posed by transporting waste to the site on routes that would pass directly through Las Vegas.

Several longtime Las Vegas residents likened the potential danger of Yucca Mountain to the above-ground nuclear testing in the desert near the city during the Cold War.

A few select comments:

“NO NO NO to dumping nuclear waste in our backyard. I will move. This is just Donald Trump bullying Nevada because he lost here.”

“We need to be known for solar energy, not for the country’s dumping ground for (nuclear) waste.”

“We really feel if it is opened here, we will leave Nevada. We have a child and do not want him to grow up with in an environment with Yucca Mountain open.”

“Nevada doesn’t have any nuclear facilities for our power, so why should the burden be on us to accept the nuclear waste from states that do benefit from nuclear power? Any state that has a benefit from nuclear power should have the responsibility of dealing with the remnants of that power. None of us would dump our trash on our neighbor. The same should apply between states.”

“I join with the many that believe transport to the area and the actual storage of nuclear waste has not been proven to be a safe alternative.”

Today, the Sun is publishing a package of Yucca Mountain-related content that includes letters, an editorial and an editorial cartoon on the issue. The remaining letters have been forwarded to the Nevada interim legislative Committee on High-Level Radioactive Waste, whose call for public comments at an April 27 meeting prompted the Sun to invite readers to sound off on the issue.