Friday, Aug. 20, 2004 | 9:06 a.m.
Letter writer Francy Johnson may not care about Yucca Mountain ("Yucca hardly state's top issue," Aug. 12), but a majority of Nevadans do. She said that she would rather see high-level nuclear waste stored at Yucca Mountain, "in the middle of nowhere," rather than San Diego, the Great Lakes or New York City.
These locations were never considered. Why weren't Washington and Texas considered? They were politically eliminated prior to the 1987 legislation that singled out Nevada's Yucca Mountain.
Johnson said, "The people who work at Yucca Mountain are not worried about the effects of nuclear waste ..." Well, why should they be? There is no nuclear waste there yet and they get paid very well.
She doubts that John Kerry will keep his word about stopping Yucca Mountain if he gets elected president. I don't know if Kerry would keep his word, but I do know that President Bush didn't keep his.
Finally, she said, "When all is said and done, the waste will be here anyhow" so let's focus on more important issues. This is the same defeatist bilge Nevadans have heard for years. But it's far from being certain. A federal appeals court has agreed that the radiation standard being used by the Energy Department (which states that Yucca Mountain must be built to safely contain the waste for 10,000 years) is woefully insufficient. The court ruled a much longer standard is required, and this may be impossible to achieve.
Yes, there are other issues. But fighting Yucca Mountain should remain a top priority.