by Joel Wendland
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) is in a hurry. This month that department filed a license application with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) to build and use the proposed nuclear dump site at Yucca Mountain in Nevada. The DOE dumped something like 30 million documents on the NRC and insisted on an expedited process, in order to limit public scrutiny of the $70 billion project and to get it done before George W. Bush leaves office.
The problem is the DOE has not adequately explained a number of key safety problems and political issues. According to Beyond Nuclear, an organization that advocates alternatives to nuclear weapons and unsafe nuclear energy, the DOE has yet to present the NRC with proposals on "a final repository design; final national transport plan; final design for the 'Transport, Aging, and Disposal' canister in which the waste would be 'permanently' sealed; final EPA regulations on radiation releases; and meaningful treatment of Western Shoshone Indian land rights at Yucca under the 'peace and friendship' Treaty of Ruby Valley signed by the U.S. government in 1863."
In short, they haven't explained how they are going to safely move dangerous nuclear waste through your town and prevent accidents or leaks and how the waste will be stored safely (permanently) at Yucca Mountain and avoid the hazards caused by earthquakes or other geological events at the mountain.
Most importantly, the DOE plan will dump radioactive waste on or near land belong to the Western Shoshone nation. This act would be another in a long, sad history of the relations between the U.S. government and Indian nations.
To speak up on this, go to Senator Harry Reid's "Petition to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to Reject the License Application for a Nuclear Waste Dump at Yucca Mountain." Sign and circulate.