Nuke tools: List and the DOE

Find out more at
Surprise. The U.S. Department of Energy is going to hold public meetings in early September on its recommendation of Yucca Mountain as the nation’s site of choice to dump 77,000 tons of radioactive crap. That doesn’t give critics much time to prepare.

An Environmental Impact Statement has yet to be released by the DOE. And a Preliminary Site Suitability Evaluation was just released by the DOE this week, along with news of three public hearings in Southern Nevada.

“It’s ludicrous,” says John Hadder, Citizen Alert’s Northern Nevada coordinator. “That’s not giving the public sufficient time to comment on a document that has yet to be released.”

The DOE has had so many recent setbacks and technical problems that some found it surprising that the agency would go ahead with the hearing process, which could lead to the recommendation of the Yucca Mountain Project to the president.

“So many aspects haven’t been resolved,” Hadder says. “We hadn’t anticipated that they’d move ahead.”

The unsolved mysteries of Yucca include the suitability of waste containers and the effects of possible volcanic activity at the site. Public perception of the project is terrible. And, between double-dipping law firms and leaked DOE memos, the political biases seem to be compounding exponentially.

Then there’s the recent news that former Nevada governor Bob List signed on with the nuclear power industry to sell unsuspecting citizens of Nevada on the joys of storing radioactive waste here.

“This guy doesn’t really demonstrate any strength on the part of the nuclear industry,” Hadder says. “It’s really awful to have a former governor do something like this.”

So the former Republican governor—a friend of Gov. Kenny Guinn’s—told reporters that he’s busy crafting a list of the possible benefits for Nevada should trainloads of waste begin arriving soon.

Hadder says that’s a sign the Yucca project is in trouble.

“Over the years, the nuclear industry has pumped millions into public campaigns to try to soften the resolve of Nevada opposition to the dump, to no avail,” Hadder says. “This last-ditch effort … is a clear indication that they perceive the Yucca Mountain Project is on very shaky ground.”

But still, the DOE is seemingly trying to push a recommendation through.

“We’re definitely going to denounce what they’re trying to do. It’s not in the best interests of the public at all,” Hadder says of the hearings, which start in just two weeks. The first meeting is Sept. 5 in Las Vegas. You don’t have to attend to register a comment, Hadder says. And you don’t have to live in Southern Nevada to care.

“The project affects everyone," he says.