Senator Jacobsen, of Minden, in minority on Yucca Mountain
CARSON CITY (AP) – A measure aimed at keeping a high-level nuclear trash dump out of Nevada was introduced and immediately approved Wednesday by state lawmakers.
The resolution was introduced in the Senate, and after a half an hour of debate was approved on 19-2 vote and routed to the Assembly, where it passed unanimously.
Sen. Joe Neal, D-Las Vegas, and Sen. Lawrence Jacobsen, R-Minden, were the only legislators to vote against the measure, which urges President Bush to veto any legislation to locate a temporary nuclear dump in Nevada and to abandon consideration of Nevada’s Yucca Mountain as a permanent site.
Neal argued that federal authorities have made the decision to store nuclear waste at Yucca Mountain, and there is nothing the state can do about it.
Neal said lawmakers should be working harder on matters, such as lowering electricity rates, ”Yet we prefer to waste our time in matters in which we don’t have a seat at the bargaining table,” he said.
”This does nothing but to make us feel good, and lets us tell our people later on that we passed a resolution trying to stop it.”
Sen. Jon Porter, R-Las Vegas, said the state must send a consistent message of opposition to the federal government.
”I don’t agree with our president and with the Congress that the decision to dump nuclear waste here is about science,” Porter said. ”I think it’s up to the community in the state of Nevada to decide.”
In the Assembly, advocates included Assemblywoman Gene Ohrenschall, D-Las Vegas, who said she fears the dangers of transporting nuclear waste across the country.
”There are too many examples of terrorism going on,” Ohrenschall said. ”It would be too easy for spent nuclear waste to get into the wrong hands.”
Assemblyman David Goldwater, D-Las Vegas, added that the Yucca Mountain program has been tainted by politics, and the state should never give up its fight.
Yucca Mountain, 100 miles northwest of Las Vegas, is being studied to determine its suitability to store 77,000 tons of the nation’s spent nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste.
The waste would be shipped from 72 commercial and five DOE sites throughout the nation where it is currently stored.
There’s no rail access to Yucca Mountain, or to 40 percent of the reactor sites, according to Nevada’s Nuclear Projects Office.
Bob Loux, executive director of Nevada’s Nuclear Projects Office, estimates that if the DOE approves the site and begins hauling nuclear waste to Yucca Mountain, there will be shipments going into southern Nevada every hour each day for 35 years.
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