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January 25, 2015

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Gov. Sandoval: Nye County may want a nuke dump but it doesn’t speak for Nevada

CARS0N CITY — Gov. Brian Sandoval says Nevada does not want an interim or permanent nuclear waste repository despite Nye County's recent letter of support for such a project.

In a March 12 letter to U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu, Sandoval said: "The state of Nevada does not support the location of any such site within the state and will oppose any attempt to either resurrect the defunct Yucca Mountain project or locate an interim storage facility at Yucca or elsewhere in Nevada."

Sandoval was aware of a letter from Nye County officials to Chu expressing support for the Yucca Mountain repository. To that, the governor said, "Nye County does not and cannot speak for the state of Nevada."

The governor said the 1982 Nuclear Waste Policy Act prohibits locating an interim storage site in Nevada. Yet Yucca Mountain remains a potential site. "Even though the Department of Energy has indicated it intends to terminate the Yucca program and has taken steps in that direction the licensing process remains suspended and not terminated," the governor said.

The Blue Ribbon Commission on America's Nuclear Future has recommended the nation quickly move to find an interim storage site or nuclear reactors won't have a place to send spent fuel.

Nye County sent a letter to the energy secretary earlier this month expressing its continued support for Yucca Mountain project.

Sandoval said he backs the recommendation of the commission that a state must consent to allowing the nuclear waste to be stored there. "However, Nevada will not consent to an interim storage facility or repository being considered in the state."

The governor sent copies of his letter to the Nevada Congressional delegation, Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto and former Gov. Richard Bryan, the chairman of the Nevada Commission on Nuclear Projects.

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  1. This makes four Sun mentions of this State position-letter today.

    This State action illustrates a conflict seen almost everywhere in the world: local support for nuclear facilities diminishes as one gets away from the locality, and can become opposition far enough away.

    The State having the power that it has in the US governmental structure gives it the last word.

    I feel very bad for rural Nevada being denied a chance for generations of well-paying jobs and the infrastructure improvements that come with a large industrial complex being located in Nye County. Ancillary businesses would be there for the long term. Infrastructure improvements would mean enhancements of roads, utilities, railroads, schools, libraries, communications, health-care and first-responder capabilities.

    The risk that people are afraid of would be there, in the rural part of Nevada, since transportation-routing is under State control by Department of Transportation regulations.

    In my never humble personal opinion, this is urban Nevada sacrificing rural Nevada to placate its number one industry: gaming. This pledge of fidelity is a one-way street, gaming businesses are trying to start up resorts in places where people still have money, such as southern Florida, at the direct expense of Nevada. Just as they are soaking up new wealth in China, cutting back on Asian tourist visits to Nevada.

    Gaming interests fear that waste coming into the state taints the state, and thus could discourage tourism. This is a very strange fear, since no one was deterred when almost a thousand nuclear bombs were set off on the Nevada Test Site in Nye County. The remanants of those bomb tests are still in the soil and groundwater at that site. No one was deterred: Nevada grew up during those explosive times.

    This letter from the State has an effect on Washington decision-makers. New Mexico's Governor, by contrast, has invited DOE to do the science that allows them to make a case for the safety of disposing of more types of nuclear waste in that state. No doubt there will be other states that come to realize that this is not a flash-in-the-pan get-rich-quick opportunity, but a multi-generational opportunity to stabilize a regional economy and enhance regional and state-level infrastructures. That is the reward for helping solve a serious national problem.

    I feel bad for Nye County. It is being fiscally sacrificed to a perceived threat to an industry that is very disloyal to Nevada.

  2. I've been saying the exact same things for a decade, Abraham. Nevada could help plug a glaring hole in their budget by using its massive amount of barren land for a good use. Also, it'll help produce well paying jobs for residents. I don't get why people are fighting this so badly.

  3. "Produce well paying jobs" at what expense? The benefit of some jobs is monumentally disproportional to the risk involved in making Nevada the dump ground for the U.S.

    It is utterly absurd to make the "jobs" argument despite the great risks in making Nevada the nuclear waste dump of the country.

  4. "If there is concern about radioactivity from much radioactivity remains in the valley due to the bomb testing?"

    I'll tell you - PEOPLE CAN'T EVEN LIVE THERE!

    "The test site has been declared a sacrifice zone," said , Joseph Strolin, acting director of Nevada's Agency for Nuclear Projects. "The federal officials are basically taking the approach that this can never be cleaned up and will be monitored in perpetuity."

    The level of ignorance is scary. I pray for Nevada that ignorance NOT prevail.

    Professor Dina Titus is a scholar in this area - the Sun should seek her opinion.

  5. "Produce well paying jobs"...what a crock. Exactly how many "well paying jobs" would storing this nuclear crap here create? The governor has finally come down on the right side of this issue. Our congressional delegation and every governor of this state has fought "Screw Nevada" for decades. They are all correct in their opposition. Only Mark Amodei doesn't get it, which figures. This appointed moron will probably win election, if the poor record of the voters of district 2 continues.

  6. I want to know what the plan is to remove/clean up the deep side active bomb waste that is now creeping toward our deep aquifers?

    Our descendants will not thank us for this inane thoughtless policy.