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Yucca is no solution to energy crisis

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  • duke_did_it_too
    Long-term burial in Yucca Mountain is not the answer Las Vegas Sun, Sun, Feb 1, 2009 Yucca is no solution to energy crisis Richard Stallings Mesquite — For
    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 1, 2009
      "Long-term burial in Yucca Mountain is not the answer"

      Las Vegas Sun, Sun, Feb 1, 2009

      Yucca is no solution to energy crisis

      Richard Stallings

      Mesquite — For years I have watched with interest the courageous
      fight that Nevada has waged against the Energy Department over the
      proposed Yucca Mountain storage facility. Having served in Congress
      for eight years, representing a district in Idaho that included a
      major Energy Department facility (INL) and serving for two years as
      the U.S. nuclear waste negotiator, I know how difficult the struggle
      has been.

      I worked with Idaho Gov. Cecil Andrus as he led a similar fight to
      stop the Energy Department from locating nuclear waste products above
      the Idaho aquifer, and I took every opportunity to support the
      efforts of Sen. Harry Reid and then-Sen. Richard Bryan.

      While directing the nuclear waste office, I argued against the Energy
      Department's Yucca proposal and offered alternative solutions which
      were not appreciated. In fact, when my agency's funding was up for
      renewal, the Energy Department quietly used its influence to close
      the office of U.S. nuclear waste negotiator in 1995.

      Today, Nevada and the nation are poised at a significant crossroads.
      Sen. Reid has cut funding for Yucca while Gov. Jim Gibbons has
      proposed severe cuts to the funds the state has used to fight the
      Energy Department. I believe Congress will interpret Nevada's
      financial retreat as a sign that Nevada's opposition to Yucca has
      weakened. The Las Vegas Sun's Jan. 25 editorial ("Selling out Nevada:
      Gibbons plans to cut fight against Yucca Mountain and some in GOP
      want blood money") was right on target!

      And what about the nearly 20 percent of the nation that uses
      electricity generated by nuclear power? Many argue the current policy
      of on-site waste storage is a solution. But that is also shortsighted
      and unless the Energy Department takes responsibility for the spent
      fuel, as it promised many years ago, several reactors may be forced
      to close.

      There is no question that significant amounts of green power will be
      needed in the near future. Coal and oil are not solutions. Wind and
      solar may be part of the solution and, while natural gas has filled
      the void during the past few decades, its skyrocketing cost has
      raised serious questions. My conclusion is that nuclear energy must
      be considered.

      I know the biggest obstacle is dealing with the waste stream. Long-
      term burial in Yucca Mountain is not the answer, nor is on-site
      storage, but there is a third option that has been developed that
      holds great possibilities. It requires a smaller investment, shorter
      storage time and a process our scientists have had success with. It
      is known as the 300-year Spent Nuclear Fuel Disposal Solution and, as
      its name suggests, it requires only 300 years for the spent fuel to
      decay instead of the tens of thousands of years in the current plan.

      I have always appreciated the American "can do" spirit. We have taken
      difficult problems and found ways to resolve them. I believe the same
      holds true with our energy crisis. We need to reduce our dependence
      on foreign oil and put less pollutants in the air. A well thought out
      nuclear option will help us reach these necessary goals.

      It is time for the Energy Department to consider alternatives and
      stop pouring billions of dollars into the failed policy at Yucca

      Richard Stallings, who splits his time between Nevada and Idaho,
      represented Idaho as a Democrat in the U.S. House of Representatives
      from 1985 to 1993.
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