Las Vegas Sun

June 26, 2019

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Don’t shy from Yucca answers

Equity and lack of consent are at the root of Nevada’s argument against a high-level radioactive waste repository at Yucca Mountain. But Nevada also has made safety objections.

An opportunity exists to address the safety objections and, if justified, use them to bring about important changes to the government’s future safety approach. It entails resuming the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s safety evaluation and licensing process for Yucca Mountain.

Nevada understandably does not support resuming the licensing process. It might lead to a decision rejecting Nevada’s safety objections, leading in turn to Yucca Mountain supporters trying to override Nevada’s equity argument and lack of consent.

But what if the safety objections have merit? A future NRC decision accepting one or more of the objections could effectively force the federal government to move on to another option, with knowledge of what aspects of its safety approach need to be changed.