Nuclear waste, terrorism and theme casinos

Perhaps in nature there exists a more cautious and paranoid creature than the Common Bureaucrat, but I doubt it. Bureaucrats’ careers depend on never, ever doing something that someone else can point at later and say, “Whoa, buster, right here you made a baaaad mistake.”

This is in contrast to politicians, who are elected for a fixed term and thus can do all sorts of stupid things, such as: On the local level, digging a trench for a railroad because tracks in the middle of town impede the constitutionally guaranteed flow of traffic from one casino to another. On the national level, using a cigar for, for, well, for something it wasn’t designed for. Trust Freud on this.

But we have drifted away from timorous bureaucrats. After the hooraw recently about federales pointing their finger at Yucca Mountain and shouting “Woo! You’re it!” lowly bureaucrats got jumpy about their online maps of proposed routes to move radioactive waste to Yucca Mountain. Poof, the routes disappeared from the DOE Web site.

This was wise because we don’t want terrorists knowing where the stuff is moving and then hijacking trains and thus increasing train station waits for the rest of us by two hours while our luggage is searched for large monkey wrenches and such. Only a cynic would point out that it was also wise because it keeps unsuspecting communities from knowing that glowing glop would soon be rumbling through town.

However—and here’s where the image of bureaucrat as trembling bunny rabbit comes to mind—the DOE also removed from the Web site any map locating Yucca Mountain itself.

That is bound to frustrate religious extremists who’ve become terrorists.

“Hey, blessed one—let’s go blow up the nuclear dump at Yucca Mountain!”

“OK, man, let me look up its location online—oh, darn I can’t find it. I guess we’ll have to hit the Reno railroad trench instead.” (Location gladly provided by local citizens.)

Never mind that terrorists could stop at any gas station and get a Nevada map with Yucca Mountain plainly shown. That’s fine with the quivering bunnies at the DOE—just please please pleeeaassse don’t tell the arresting officers you found the location on the DOE Web site.

So far, so good. But the DOE doesn’t go far enough. Here’s my plan, you spineless ninnies. Under cover of darkness, move Yucca Mountain—nuke waste and all—into downtown Vegas.

Cleverly disguise it as a theme casino.

The whole issue evaporates. No Yucca Mountain, no pissed-off Nevadans (many of whom haven’t noticed that Yucca Mountain actually is much closer to California than Reno, at least according to maps in that godless newspaper across town).

And the real beauty of the scheme is this: If mutants begin to show up on the streets of Las Vegas, no one will notice. Problem solved. No, don’t thank me. I’m glad to do it for my country.

Now the government’s only problem is where to hide all the shredded Enron documents.