Where’s the science?

Hey, Mr. Bush, don’t know much about a science book?

As candidate, in a May 3, 2000, letter to Gov. Guinn, you wrote, “I believe sound science, and not politics, must prevail in the designation of any high-level nuclear waste repository. As president, I would not sign legislation that would send nuclear waste to any proposed site unless it’s been deemed scientifically safe. I also believe the federal government must work with the local and state governments that will be affected to address safety and transportation issues.”

Since that 2000 letter, President Bush, you have continued to proclaim that sound science will determine whether Yucca Mountain is to be chosen for the nation’s most radioactive waste.

In December 2001, the General Accounting Office issued a report, “Technical, Schedule, and Cost Uncertainties of the Yucca Mountain Repository Project,” which stated, “On the basis of information we reviewed, DOE will not be able to submit an acceptable application to NRC [Nuclear Regulatory Commission] within the express statutory time frames for several years because it will take that long to resolve many technical issues. Specifically, DOE is currently gathering and analyzing technical information required to satisfy 293 agreements that it made with NRC.”

Later, in January 2002, the Nuclear Waste Technical Review Board, an independent scientific panel whose members are appointed by the president, stated in a letter to Congress and the DOE that “when the DOE’s technical and scientific work is taken as a whole, the Board’s view is that the technical basis for the DOE’s repository performance estimates is weak to moderate at this time.”

Despite the obvious lack of support of the scientific community about the project, you approved Yucca Mountain, thus reneging on your promise to Gov. Guinn and disregarding the health and safety of countless Americans.

It has become clear since 2002 that the Yucca Mountain Project is not scientifically sound. Former NWTRB member Paul Craig wrote in a June 4 letter, “The Bush administration has a different rule of thumb when it comes to the science of storing nuclear waste: Ask as few questions as possible and ignore answers you don’t like.” He goes on to say, “The board concluded that the present design for Yucca Mountain is deficient, and unless it is changed, the nation’s high-level waste repository is likely to leak. Our conclusion has been ignored.”

The NWTRB has formally stated in a letter to the DOE, dated Nov. 24, 2003, “… because of the seriousness of these corrosion concerns, we strongly urge you to reexamine the current repository design and proposed operation.”

Science points away from Yucca Mountain for storage of the nation’s most radioactive waste and questions the integrity of the DOE and your administration in forcing this project forward.

On behalf of the people of Nevada, Citizen Alert asks you, "Mr. Bush, don’t know much about a science book?"