Nevada kicks DOE out of nuke dump hearing site |

Nevada kicks DOE out of nuke dump hearing site

The Associated Press

CARSON CITY, Nev. (AP) – A state official who opposes the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste dump project barred the federal Department of Energy from holding a hearing on the dump at the Nevada Capitol.

Scott Sisco, acting director of the state Cultural Affairs Department, has authority over the historic and tiny Nevada Supreme Court chambers located in the Capitol.

After consulting with Gov. Kenny Guinn’s office, Sisco said he was concerned about crowd control and safety issues.

The hearing Wednesday was instead held at a meeting room in Carson City’s Nugget casino, and only a handful of people showed up.

Jim Roberts, a retired University of Nevada, Reno professor, testified in favor of opening Yucca Mountain, saying that 77,000 tons of nuclear waste is now stored at about 70 sites around the country.

These locations, he said, ”are poorly protected against terrorism. A central storage of spent fuel rods would provide far fewer terrorist targets, and the central storage could be more easily protected.

But Herman Mende of Carson City said the dump would become a major target for terrorists, adding that an explosion would mean the release of radiation that would be active for several centuries.

Referring to nuclear waste, Mende, said, ”It’s the dirty little dog you can’t clean up. You can’t clean up after it.”

Ed Silsby of Carson City suggested that the nuclear waste be dumped on Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan. He added he’d lie across the road to stop shipments of nuclear waste.

Guinn and Attorney General Frankie Sue Del Papa said Tuesday they’re opposed to the latest round of federal hearings, scheduled to run through Oct. 12.

The governor said public comment is being sought ”when as of today the state has only been provided with preliminary reports that contain questionable findings regarding the safety and suitability of Yucca Mountain.”

The DOE last month hosted a marathon public hearing in Las Vegas on a scientific report that identifies no major obstacles to entombing the nation’s 77,000 tons of radioactive waste at Yucca Mountain.

The volcanic ridge is at the western edge of the Nevada Test Site, about 90 miles northwest of Las Vegas. It is the only site in the nation being studied as a nuclear dump.

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