Thursday, February 16, 2006


Is there anything the Bush Administration does not justify because of 9/11 and/or the "War on Terror." The Bushies are working on a plan now to bring all of the world's nuclear waste to Yucca Mountain in Nevada. The citizens of that state are not all that thrilled about becoming a nuclear grave yard and they are working to stop the plan. Supporters of the idea say it's a national security issue and if it isn't done, terrorists will more easily get their hands on radioactive material.

By the way, since the "waste" supposedly will remain buried, safe and sound for eons, I can't help but wonder what is the plan for those future creatures who happen upon the site (this would possible if some future civilization happens to develop after global warming has killed this one off anyway)?

Well, not to be caught with their pants down, the Department of Energy (DOE) has one.

DOE's current plan is to monitor the potential repository for at least 50 years once the last waste package has been disposed. After the monitoring phase, DOE plans to seal the tunnels and post a guard at the gate for as long as necessary. It is impossible to predict which government institutions may evolve or disappear over the next 10,000 years, so at the time of permanent closure DOE plans to use “passive” measures to warn people against disturbing the site. Monuments, warning markers, and widespread records would be used to inform people of the contents of the Yucca Mountain site and to keep people from intruding into the site.

Wonder what the signs will read...

Anyway, KLSTV in Las Vegas updates the story with the following report.

DOE Wants Yucca to be The World's Nuclear Repository

The Department of Energy is working on a plan to bring nuclear waste from around the country to Yucca Mountain. But a Nevada group working against the project says waste from other countries could also be brought to Southern Nevada.

The Nevada Commission on Nuclear Projects met Tuesday to talk about their efforts to stop the project and discuss the possibility of Nevada becoming a dumping ground for the world's waste. This is a new plan the DOE unveiled just a few days ago. It comes as a total surprise to state and county leaders.

In essence, the DOE wants Yucca Mountain to be a clearinghouse for the world's nuclear waste. They claim it's a national security issue. But officials here aren't buying it. The DOE plan would expand Yucca Mountain's original intent and state leaders don't like it.

Bob Loux said, "If it did occur, sure that's what the government would like to do is turn Yucca Mountain and Southern Nevada into a dumping ground for the entire world."

Loux is executive director of Nevada's Commission on Nuclear Projects. He tells Eyewitness News the Bush Administration supports the plan, claiming it would boost homeland security by keeping nuclear waste out of the wrong hands.

Peggy Maze Johnson, said, "It's just absolutely insane to me." Maze Johnson with the nuclear watchdog group Citizens Alert believes bringing more nuclear waste into Southern Nevada increases the dangers to our community. And as for boosting homeland security, she says, " I am so tired of terrorism. Every time this administration wants something we're blaming it on terrorists."

Is homeland security the true reason behind this plan? Bob Loux believes it's not, that the entire thing is a smokescreen to keep the struggling project alive. "In my mind, in my view, the only reason they're proposing reprocessing is Yucca Mountain is failing. They're needing to talk about something to show they're doing something and cover up the failure of Yucca Mountain."

There's more to this: in addition to becoming a clearinghouse for the world's nuclear waste, the DOE plan also calls for some of the waste to be chemically treated at Yucca Mountain and then be shipped back to it's original source to be reused.

Clark County comprehensive planner Irene Navis calls this a bad idea. "I think if anything it's going to get folks charged up here locally. It's the idea that we'll become the world's dump as opposed to the nation's facility for nuclear waste storage."

By expanding Yucca Mountain's mission and tying in homeland security, this plan for Yucca Mountain may breathe new life into the project. State and county leaders say they will continue their fight to stop Yucca Mountain, but admit this change in focus may make it more difficult.

Yucca Mountain spokesman Alan Benson has no comment on this new plan other than to say once the Environmental Protection Agency establishes guidelines for Yucca Mountain, the licensing process will move forward.

In Dec. of 2005, Nevada senators Harry Reid and John Ensign introduced a bill that would stop nuclear waste shipments from coming to Nevada. Instead it would have the waste stay where it is now. So far the bill is still in committee.

No comments: