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January 31, 2015

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We must demand clear answer from Romney on Yucca Mountain

You don’t say!

It is no secret that our elections — especially presidential elections — have become contests in which what candidates don’t say is at least as important as what they do tell the voters. Long ago the electorate, through a fault most of its own making, gave up the expectation that politicians seeking high office would tell the truth.

The reasoning was simple: If we are told the truth, we won’t vote for the truth teller. If we are told something less than what is factual, we tend to vote for that person and then complain later when what we thought we were told doesn’t mesh with what the fellow we elected does.

That continues the vicious circle of lies, votes and more lies, and that results in the public having an ever-decreasing opinion of the political class, which is forced to tell us less of what we need to know in order to win the votes of people who have become completely disenchanted with the whole thing.

Unfortunately, while all this games-playing is going on, real problems need to be addressed, real challenges must be met and real people and their lives hang in the balance of whatever our democracy prescribes. In short, there will come a time when the people will just say “no” to anything and anyone asking for a vote. That includes those who deserve our vote as well as those who don’t. Guess who wins when that happens?

So, what can we do while this political circus is getting sorted out? One thing we must do is pay attention as best we can because there are consequences to our actions and to our failures to act as good citizens.

Take the case of former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and Nevada’s deeply held belief that the country’s high-level nuclear waste should not be buried just a few tens of miles from the tourist mecca that is Las Vegas. And what about the rest of the country? It has a very valid fear of all that toxic waste being trucked and trained through major cities across the country on its way to Southern Nevada, waiting, just waiting, for the inevitable accident. Such an accident would not only devastate the area where it occurred but also it would change the face of the nuclear power industry and the way the rest of the country views nuclear power and its waste.

Nevadans have expected and continue to expect our federal and state representatives to stand up against the rest of the country’s efforts to shove that deadly waste down our Yucca Mountain. It is based on the science that says Yucca isn’t the right answer and on an overwhelming public sense of betrayal for the way Yucca Mountain got started in the first place.

Starting with candidate George W. Bush in 2000, we have asked the very simple question: Are you for or against burying the nation’s nuclear garbage in Yucca Mountain in the face of Nevada’s desire not to let that happen?

It is no secret that candidate Bush lied to our faces when he assured us that science would prevail. As soon as he became president with the critical support of the Silver State, politics prevailed and Yucca became the only place for the government’s efforts to bury tens of thousands of tons of the most toxic waste known to man.

Nevadans learned from that double-cross. We learned that what a candidate says in Nevada needs to be consistent with what he says in another part of the country. And, more to the point, what he says here and what he doesn’t say anywhere else!

This past week South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley told her constituents that one of the main reasons she supports the Romney was because of his stance on Yucca Mountain. She indicated that they see eye-to-eye on what to do with South Carolina’s nuclear waste. Did I mention that Haley is an ardent supporter of dumping the nuclear waste in Nevada’s backyard?

What Nevadans have heard from Mitt is that we should be able to say whether we want the nation’s high-level garbage to be buried here, where 40 million people come each year to enjoy themselves.

As the Republican primary effort moves westward — with either Mitt the presumptive nominee or Nevada’s vote the final nail in the political coffins of the rest of the field — we should be adamant in our demands that Mitt make his position clear.

There is plenty of reason for Nevadans to be afraid that what Haley says is Romney’s position on Yucca Mountain. We heard the same kind of confusion when George Bush was asking for our votes and we didn’t demand to hear the truth from him.

This time, let’s be clear. It isn’t just what Romney says to us that matters. It is what he doesn’t say. So far, he hasn’t said he disagrees with Haley one bit.

Tell us it ain’t so, Mitt.

Brian Greenspun is publisher and editor of the Las Vegas Sun.

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  1. Willard is in South Carolina, so he'll say whatever South Carolinian's want to hear regarding Yucca. The man is a flip-flopping shape changer who has decided, after a decade of running for office, to say and do whatever it takes to get the GOP presidential nomination. Yes, we should listen to Willard wherever he is, and then see what he says at the next campaign stop in Florida. Should he win South Carolina and then go on to win Florida, it will then become academic how he really feels about nuclear waste in Nevada. We should also pay even closer attention to what Amodei and Heck have to say on the issue.

  2. Quick, hide the kids. The Yucca boogey-man is here once again. This from a bunch of NV hypocrites, who, not so long ago, were settling in on chaise lounges, sipping lemonade (or the hard stuff) and watching atomic bombs going off in mid-air. Not only were they watching, they held parties and promoted the events as being "good for business" and a way to draw tourists to "Sin City." Now, they're worried about some nuclear waste being buried deep in the earth in containers that will hold the waste for as long as it takes for it to be rendered harmless? Who's kidding whom here? "Never let a crisis go to waste." The mantra of the left, even if they have to manufacture a "crisis."

  3. Re lvfacts101. Dredging up '50's era crap to justify waste storage at Yucca Mountain now is a stretch. Times change Jerry. People became educated on this subject and have overwhelmingly REJECTED it, except for our buds in the GOP, like "science will prevail" Bush. Keep the s**t where it is, and where it belongs.

  4. "Tell us it ain't so, Mitt."

    He could do that, Mr. Greenspun, but it's very hard to believe anything to belches out of him nowadays. The truth of the matter is he will do anything, say anything to get votes. Don't matter if it's true or not. He has always shown a capacity to find out what the composition of an audience is, then conform his beliefs and what he says for it. Then, he's off to another speech to which he may something entirely different. Beliefs are secondary to getting the votes.

    Enjoyed the article, Mr. Greenspun. I was not aware of what the Governor of the Sovereign State of South Carolina said about her stance regarding Yucca Mountain and Romney siding with her.

    Don't surprise me though. Seems like everyone who is trying to shove Yucca Mountain off on us are always Tea/Republicans.

    I encourage every tourist from Nevada who visits South Carolina ensure they make a special trip to her mansion, step out on the lawn, drop trou, squat down and take a copious dump.

    That would be the same as her trying to encourage our Government to dump her nuclear trash in Nevada.

    We don't want it. No means no and it STILL means no. We fight them bastards tooth and nail to make sure they understand this.

    These facts about Romney's further flip flops also tells me he is not addressing the issue of Yucca Mountain due to his ulterior purpose of courting the votes and, if by chance he gets elected, he has to carry through with turning Nevada into a nuclear waste toilet receptacle. He simply wants it both ways. He'll tell us one thing, tell others something else, and vice versa.

    This makes him unelectable.

    Don't get me wrong, I thoroughly detest the current composition of the fanatical Tea/Republican Party and and their brand of over-the-top neo-conservatism, never my intention to vote for any of them, even for streetsweeper, but this just pounds the nail in their coffin further. I would never vote for Romney.

    And Governor Haley from the Sovereign State of South Carolina can go to hell. Do not pass go. Do not collect two hundred dollars. Go STRAIGHT to hell.

    WE control what happens to Nevada. Not that foolish woman.

  5. Just Simplify the Issue and Vote Straight Democratic and we will not have to worry about a entire litany of issues that Progressives in Nevada Care about. Plus we can also save our Time and Breath and not deal with Right Wing Tea Party Republican Neanderthals. Sharon Angle Anyone?

  6. @ressince73...(your statement about becoming educated on the subject).....unless you have a Masters or a PhD in Geology or Geochemistry or Theoretical Physics, you cannot even begin to grasp the science involved in the studies conducted to arrive at Yucca Mountain as the repository of choice for high level nuclear waste. What the masses know is the snippets and soundbites and interpretation of the facts by the media, as presented to advance WHATEVER political agenda that specific media agency aligns itself with.

  7. Yucca Mountain....The taxpayer, has payed for digging, drilling, blasting. NOW lets use it. For every, ounce, pound, or spent rod of Nuclear Waste. Charge for storage, then give the proceeds back to the taxpayer (which payed for it), instead of the Government taking it. Perhaps we can afford NV Energy then.

  8. Urban warming. Since 1979 over 1900 weather collection stations have been removed from the global network. Ironically enough, these were predominantly higher elevations stations. The increased temperature recorded from these in service weather stations since 2000 is 0.9 degrees centigrade. Not hardly the level of increase that would preclude catastrophic changes in the earths climate, but does signify an increase in temperature in urban areas, ergo........urban warming.

  9. I do not think a P.H.D in geology is required to recognize building a nuclear repository directly on top of a active earthquake fault is stupid. Leave south Carolinas nuclear waste in south Carolina.

  10. Speaking of lies and half-truths:
    1."high-level nuclear waste should not be buried just a few tens of miles from the tourist mecca that is Las Vegas"

    --That would be true if it were just a few tens, but is is more like 90, many tens.

    2."the rest of the country? It has a very valid fear of all that toxic waste being trucked and trained through major cities across the country on its way to Southern Nevada, waiting, just waiting, for the inevitable accident."

    --If you will recall, when the Mobil Chernobyl farcical fake nuke waste truck was taken across the country by some Nevada politicians to build fear of a Yucca repository across the nation, the complaint was that people simply didn't seem to care. And what inevitable accident would that be? The containers survive accidents like nothing now on the road does, the National Academy of Sciences in a study in 2002 said it would be the safest industrial transport on the road or railroad. Plus, the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant, a repository in New Mexico, ships nuclear waste to itself from around the nation and just celebrated 12-million loaded miles without any radiological incidents.

    3. "Such an accident would not only devastate the area where it occurred but also it would change the face of the nuclear power industry and the way the rest of the country views nuclear power and its waste."

    --Accident scenarios with radiological releases have been evaluated, even though they are extremely unlikely, and suggest some airborne releases of particulates and some particulates on the ground in the immediate vicinity of a broken cask. The US Department of Energy knows how to respond to such events, were they to happen, and will teach first-responders just as they have all along the routes used to ship waste to New Mexico now. The unstated assumption in this description is that there is some sort of explosion. The waste is either glass or ceramic inside steel. Neither glass nor ceramic is explosive, but an impact with a fire may release some small fragments, which will not likely go very far: this is a localized hazard. And extremely unlikely.

  11. Speaking of lies and half-truths Continued:

    4."based on the science that says Yucca isn't the right answer"

    --What science would that be? The work sponsored by the State that gave alarming results for conditions that would never be encountered inside a Yucca Mountain repository? In its published license-application review, the staff of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission stated that the safety evaluations for Yucca Mountain met their expectations and were credible.

    5.[based on] "an overwhelming public sense of betrayal for the way Yucca Mountain got started in the first place."

    --The "Screw Nevada Bill" of 1987 being referred to is indeed a legislative travesty, but there is NO "overwhelming public sense of betrayal" in Nevada. Most Nevadans today haven't got a clue about this legislative farce, passed when they were still in diapers.

    6."Bush lied to our faces when he assured us that science would prevail"

    --Bush relied on his science-adviser, as he rightly should have, to evaluate what the Department of Energy was publishing as their site recommendation. That science adviser spent weeks with Department scientists intensely questioning the claims for safety and their technical bases, and finally, just after these documents were publicly released, advised the President to go ahead and make the recommendation. That is the way it is supposed to be done, and that is how it was done.

    7."the most toxic waste known to man"

    Give me a technical break! There are many chemical toxins that kill rapidly, even if just by skin contact. At least with serious radiation exposure you get an opportunity to detoxify the exposed person, not pleasant, but effective, even if they were exposed with a high enough dose to be suffering from radiation sickness. Letting people smoke tobacco gives them a dose to their epithelium, from polonium-210 in the tobacco, 1.5 packs a day gives you about a thousand times higher annual dose than was allowed to be given by Yucca Mountain in the first 10,000 years. The combination of carcinogenic tars and radiation from polonium-210 leads to cancers in smokers.
    Outlaw smoking in this state if you want to show you are serious about controlling public radiation exposure!

  12. RE Abraham Van Luik, Mark Duntun and Jerry Fink. You all must have an agenda other than the welfare of the citizens of Nevada. Do any of you actually live here? The only "doctorate" I have is the one for common sense. If this nuclear poison is so safe to store in Nevada, then why not leave it at it's site(s) of origin and bury it there? I was very much around when "screw Nevada" was shoved down our throats. That alone was enough of a political scam to convince me that no right thinking Nevadan could or would support it, other than those who were in the pocket of the industry backing the storage dump. Wow! Bush's "science adviser" (whatever that is), "spent weeks" questioning data that involved nuclear waste to be stored for thousands of years, and then recommended going ahead with the Yucca scam. Glad he could spare the time for his in depth analysis! That was simple rubber stamp political bulls**t. Bush would have ignored any advice to the contrary, and gone along with "screw Nevada" anyway.

  13. @ressince73, You're kidding right?? Just because somebody disagrees with you??

    I am a life-long resident and not only do I support Yucca but I feel sorry for troglodytes who think the sky is falling.

    There are nuclear facilities scattered all throughout the U.S. and yes, it makes absolute sense to store it in one place. Yucca has the backing of real scientists, not hacks, like the former man of integrity Chu.

    Yucca is a repository and not a dump. The waste will be retrievable when technology allows for it.

    I urge you all to see the footage on youtube of these casks in action during a collision.

    As long as special (I mean short-bus) interest comments from the naysayers keeps scaring dimwits into thinking we will all "glow", you are right, Yucca will never happen, but if people choose to get educated then Yucca can be the opportunity of a lifetime for a State that is essentially a two-trick pony.

  14. I can't believe the spin on Yucca Mountain.

    In a nutshell, here's how it all went down...

    That site basically tells how it all came to be.

    But people need to understand that lobbyists, scientists, and politicians ALL WHO HAVE AN AGENDA to shove this off on Nevada have spun this upside down sideways ANY DAMN WAY THEY CAN to get their way.

    They are welcome with their views.

    They are also welcome to spend a lot of money with court costs with frivolous law suits and expend a lot of time on Yucca Mountain.

    I hope it continues. Because it will waste time and money.

    The faster that process goes through where it's deemed no longer cost effective to pursue it, then the faucet will officially be turned off on Yucca Mountain.

    Nevada keeps up the fight. Other States and their politicians, ESPECIALLY that idiot Governor Haley from South Carolina, CANNOT tell us what to do here in Nevada. She has an ulterior purpose to make money and kowtow to her stupid nuclear industry that wants its way.

    And that's fine, but she does not tell ANYONE here in Nevada what to do. Nor will she get her way and influence nuclear crap to come to Nevada.

    I am simply unconvinced by the normal commenters here that are pro-Yucca. BECAUSE THEY ALL HAVE AN AGENDA. I'm not even looking for a connection, but how come I see it? Because it's so transparent that the most unknowledgeable person sees it. Simply put, they stand to make money off of it. But at our expense. The rest of us in Southern Nevada would suffer if such a horrible decision like this would happen. Not only for a foreseeable future, BUT FOREVER AD INFINITY GENERATIONS AFTER GENERATIONS BILLIONS OF YEARS. That's a horrible legacy to give to our children's children's children.

    The simple fact is that there are a majority of people here who don't want it. It's a bad idea. Period.

    And we will make life hell for any politician who keeps trying to make it happen. Ask Heck and Amodei. Both of them are on their way out due to their stupidity in grasping Yucca Mountain. Voter outrage will be awesome to behold for anyone that advocates nuclear waste stored FOREVER in Southern Nevada.

  15. RE Timothy Lomprey. "Yucca has the backing of real scientists". The list of "real scientists" who oppose the Yucca Mountain site is long and distinguished, as is the list of those who support it. My point was, and is, this dump (you can call it what you will), was shoved down the throats of Nevadans of all political persuasions for PURELY POLITICAL REASONS; the key being SHOVED DOWN OUR THROATS. The Nevada Congressional and Senate delegation has fought this atrocity since day one, no matter their political affiliation. This says something, politics being what it is today. You fail to mention your reason(s) for supporting said dump. Do you live in a county that would benefit by alleged job creation? The long term jobs would be minimal, and as I have posted in the past, probably taken by people that have some knowledge of monitoring and maintenance of nuclear waste. The short term jobs do not justify this dump in the least. It is a fact that the only pro-dump folks are GOP hacks like former Gov. Robert List, who is a paid shill for the Industry, and various cow county politicos trying to make a name for themselves. There are two other recent GOP hacks who support the atrocity, Mark Amodei and Joe Heck. GOP = PRO DUMP, except for Dean Heller, who, to his credit, has stood firm in opposition to this unnecessary and dangerous abomination. Repository or Suppository; what's the difference? Yucca Mountain is a travesty of state's rights, and a totally political scam.

  16. Gary and Colin,

    I am just a private citizen who has looked very closely into Yucca and btw, I live in Clark county.

    Stop spending your time being dismissive and negative and try spending your time becoming educated on the real issues affecting our State.

    Your knee-jerk anti-anti everything positive doesn't do anything for our state.

    The sky isn't falling chickens little.

  17. Dear writer...
    Had you taken your own advice, you would not have voted for Harry "do nothing but complain" Reid or Obama, the professional teleprompter reader

  18. Several questions and comments lead me to say more:

    1.Who was Pres. George W. Bush's Science Advisor? It was physicist John H. Marburger III, who died last August at age 70. He was dean of USC's College of Letters, Arts and Sciences; president of State University of New York at Stony Brook; and head of Brookhaven National Laboratory.

    2. Marburger kept abreast of Yucca Mountain science work. When the drafts of the material supporting the site recommendation were sent to him, he read and asked questions, and suggested changes in several places. Several Las Vegas based scientists practically lived in DC for about 6 weeks to meet with him daily and answer his questions after he had done his reading. He did his homework well.

    3. Who am I? I worked on Yucca Mountain in several science-related capacities for 25 years.

    4. Yucca would have been safe. But it was a very expensive repository. I never liked the idea of placing about 16 billion dollars' worth (in today's money!) of expensive metals into the rpository to assure safety.

    5.I agree with Secretary Chu that "we can do better," as a nation. I almost got fired in 2002 for MSNBC's interview with me just a few months before the Congressional vote on the site designation. I was quoted saying that Congress acted cowardly in passing the Screw Nevada Bill, and that they will never be able to site a repository this way again, with a top-down fiat.

    I also said Yucca was never my favorite, but Congress' question to us was if it could be done safely here, and we rightly answered yes.

    When asked where I would have gone instead of Yucca, at that time I said the shales of the Dakotas. The MSNBC interviewer opined that I knew SD was the home state of the Senate Majority leader at the time, but in fact I had always thought the clayey portions of the Pierre Shale that runs north-south in both Dakotas might be ideal.

    His final question was if there was any model for doing this right next time, in the world, and I said yes, both Sweden and Finland were on their way to a repository with local support. Of course those countries do not have STATES! Yucca Mountain had local support too, it was that danged State that got in the way, largely to protect their very fickle mistress, gaming!

    6. I started my wasted career studying granite and other crystalline rocks, then that was cut off by the Screw Nevada Bill that stopped all work not related to Yucca. I had to scramble for work. So I made my way to Nevada. That was cut off in 2010 and I again had to scramble to find work. Now I've rediscovered salt. "Re"-discovered, because I did my PhD many, many years ago on the physical chemistry of evaporating brines. The US already has a repository in salt. Salt is very, very good!

  19. Timothy

    This is a blog under the heading of "Opinions". My opinions, rather than being dismissive and/or negative, are just opinions of issues THE WAY I SEE THEM. There are plenty of knee jerk and anti everything OPINIONS blogged here, such as your own. I will continue to voice my OPINIONS here, now and in the future. If someone can change my mind, and the vast majority of Nevadan's, on the issue of the Yucca Mountain "SCREW NEVADA" issue, I am listening. I would still like you to state your reasons for support of this anti-states rights political scam, and so far, you haven't. Is it because you have no concrete reasons to support it? If so, then you're rhetoric rings hollow. Vague and vacuous statements, with no real opinion on the matter, make your posts simplistic, at best. "The sky isn't falling chickens little"; who said it was? You "looked very closely into Yucca"; and what did you see? I'm still waiting for some substance from you're pro-Yucca stance. How 'bout it?

    Just a fellow blogger,


  20. Romney's answer on Yucca Mountain is TOTALLY IRRELEVANT.

  21. Like they say on the wharf, you don't need to be an Ichthyologist to know when a fish stinks.

    Mitt the draft dodger has never had a personal commitment to America. He fought for a Missionary Deferment during the Vietnam War, got it, then passed on his deferment to each of his FIVE SONS who never served their Country, because their Father's money and political office was more important then any other goal.

    Mitt wants to rebuild the Military (Oh Really? Rebuild..?), but not with his sons, because there is a reason: They are ALL SAINTS! Yes, all of Mitt's sons are Saints because they follow the rules of their religion, so an Infidel or Pagan will have to carry a Rifle so that Saints can have large families, lead the good life and rule America.

    Sound familiar? This is the Aristocratic philosophy of Old Europe. Willard Romney is bent on re-creating the lifestyle of Old Europe in America. The Rich hire the starving boys to fight the wars. Verstehen Sie?

  22. Make the deal so expensive that they go away .They have to get it to yucca . Nevada should build a toll road to yucca mt away from Las Vegas that charges thousands for every truck that must pass through . Then every load must be inspected by Nevada inspectors for an exorbitant fee . All revenue can pay for free education ,free health care , no property taxes and a monthly stipend for all Nevada citizens .With a deal like that you might change some opposition .

  23. Bring it on. We should have Yucca Mtn. here. It's the media that has falsely tried to scare us over Yucca.

  24. I would say Mr. Greenspun that the quality of comments from your misleading story has certainly brought out rather deficient comment opinions. I can safely suggest that you will get no replies from the science and engineering community as the lack of deductive reasoning and common sense is certainly in question in the story and the comments. Lawn defecation is certainly not very conducive to nuclear technology dialogue and comments like this discredit your story. Here are some "facts" for consideration. It has never been proven that the "citizens" of Nevada oppose Yucca Mountain. It has been misrepresentation by the media and ill-informed bureaucrats. The only "truth" would come from a "public referendum" and the bureaucrats and our state government don't dare allow this choice for our citizens. If you are "truly" a supporter of FACTS the U.S. has been transporting nuclear waste for 50+ years with never a radiation release. How long do you qualify inevitable to be?

    Your "story" states, "Nevadans have expected and continue to expect our federal and state representatives to stand up against the rest of the country's efforts to shove that deadly waste down our Yucca Mountain". "Fact is" it is not "your, (e.g. owned by Nevada)" (misrepresentation) Yucca Mountain. The Nevada National Security Site, previously the Nevada Test Site (NTS), is a United States Department of Energy reservation located in southeastern Nye County, Nevada, about 65 miles northwest of the city of Las Vegas. The "truth" is the site is "owned" by the United States of America.

    You state; "It is no secret that candidate Bush lied to our faces when he assured us that science would prevail". You are lying to the citizens of Nevada making this statement. The DOE Yucca Mountain Application to the NRC "is the scientific proof that the facility as designed is safe". Our Nevada bureaucrats terminated its funding instead of allowing this "science proof" to be provided to the public. There are 26+ national and international organizations with documented "position statements" supporting the Yucca application process. If you are "truthful" with the citizens of Nevada, they will choose science to prevail over bureaucrats. The media and bureaucrats have never provided the "TRUTH" about Yucca Mountain.

  25. Several have opened the talk about states rights. For many, many years our federal government has maintained top secret testing and military bases on FEDERAL land in Nevada. These events and activities were put in place for the protection of the "United States of America" and continue to function. Our spent nuclear fuel has become a national security issue. The NWPA of 1982 "passed" by congress constitutionally usurps Nevada's claim of "States Rights" of the Yucca site selection. Yucca Mountain is located on "federal land". The truck and rail transportation "could" be designed with routes on federal land and whatever minor sections need federal ownership simply acquire via eminent domain. (Yes, everybody hates that term, but it exists for good reason) National security needs trump ALL states rights in our Constitution. Many Nevadan's believe that the federal government should have educated the grassroots public rather than taking the "Yucca issue" to the Nevada bureaucracy where politics has wasted the taxpayer science study. Some of us question that there was never a need to talk with the State of Nevada.

    Many of these comments are not fact based or truthful, they want to champion states rights over the Constitution so why dialogue?

  26. There is only one clear way to stop Yucca Mountain and one word says it all: Implosion!

  27. At the same time we demand those answers from Romney we need them from the entire US Government. Either this project is poorly planned and a HUGE waste of money OR it is a well planned but expensive project that was stopped by foolish uninformed national and local politicians.

    As of today I CAN'T figure out WHICH it is and I know MANY people who have opinions BUT opinion is NOT GENERALLY FACT. Either way the money is now down a rat hole.