That’s Nuke-LEE-er, George

Let’s give Yucca Mountain a name that will mean something to future generations

President George W. Bush signed legislation last week to make Yucca Mountain the nation’s high-level nuclear waste dump.

Despite still-unanswered scientific questions, despite issues of terrorist attacks on trucks and trains laden with nuclear waste, despite the possibility of simple accidents, despite the Republican party’s plank that supports states’ rights to self-determination, despite earthquakes, despite the questionable need for a centralized nuclear waste facility, Bush saw fit to sign into law a plan to send tons upon tons upon tons of radioactive material to Nevada’s neighborhoods.

Bush lied He lied when he said he’d hold off a decision until the science proved to be sound. He’s a liar, and he should be called on it.

Up until now, the entire Yucca Mountain debate was political, but with Bush’s signature on the bill, it became personal.

Well, it ain’t over ’til it’s over. The courts are going to have their say on a variety of issues related to Yucca Mountain. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission will have its say on whether the dump gets licensed, too.

But in the meantime, we here at the Reno News & Review are angry. And we, like many Nevadans, are feeling impotent. Plainly, Nevadans’ voices were disregarded.

It’s hard to know what to do. If hundreds of thousands of letters, e-mails and scientific treatises from across the nation weren’t enough to get the Yucca Mountain dump reconsidered, we’re pretty much at our wit’s end.

The odds are that we will not know the full devastation wrought by this ill-conceived plan. It could be 5,000, even 10,000 years, a period longer than recorded history, before people and animals start drinking the contaminated water from under that mountain. The time period could be a lot shorter, measured in decades and years even, but let’s be optimists.

What do you do in the face of that kind of arrogance—arrogance that would gamble on poisoning the people and the land for thousands of generations? Arrogance as monumental as that deserves to be memorialized.

So, here’s what we here at the editorial department of the Reno News & Review propose. We propose that some forward thinking, perhaps righteously angry, elected official propose legislation to rename Yucca Mountain.

We want every piece of paper, bill of lading, letterhead, map, press conference and news story to reflect what Yucca Mountain symbolizes to Nevadans—an out-of-control, authoritarian and uncaring federal bureaucracy. When future archeologists (or nuclear weapon material miners) dig into that range, we want a name attached to the devastation.

Our proposal is to rename the mountain where all that nuclear waste will be stored, changing it to something that will forever represent our disgust.

We’ve got a couple suggestions—Up Yours, Nev., or the George W. Bush Nuclear Waste Suppository, Nev., or simply Mount George W. Bush—but we thought our readers might have some ideas, as well. They can be e-mailed to or mailed to 708 North Center Street, Reno, NV 89501. We’ll be sure to pass them along to the Nevada State Board on Geographical Names and to our legislators. We’ll let you know what happens.