WASHINGTON — With one exception, Nevada lawmakers expressed little concern Tuesday over a Department of Energy plan to bury bomb-usable uranium waste at the government’s national security site in the state.
Rep. Mark Amodei, R-Nev., said he was taking his cues from Gov. Brian Sandoval and state officials who have been reviewing the plan, “and so far it seems the waters are pretty smooth.
“I don’t have any plans,” Amodei said. “Speaking for myself, we’re monitoring what the state folks are doing and there you go.”
“Ditto,” said Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., when lawmakers were asked about the DOE plan after a meeting of the state’s six members of Congress.
“With all due respect, we have fought the nuclear waste battle for decades,” Reid said, referring to the state’s fight against disposal of high-level radioactive waste at Yucca Mountain. “This is not a nuclear waste battle, in my mind.”
As the Nevadans sat in a Capitol Visitor Center meeting room, Sens. Dean Heller and Rep. Joe Heck, both Republicans, and Democratic Rep. Steven Horsford did not comment when asked whether any other lawmaker had views on the matter.
Democratic Rep. Dina Titus previously said she wanted to know more about the strategy, which would involve digging trenches beyond the 40-foot depth of the Area 5 landfill at the Nevada National Security Site to dispose of 403 canisters containing uranium-233 and uranium-235. The landfill is 65 miles northwest of Las Vegas.
Titus said Tuesday she remained concerned about the transport and landfill disposal of the material, which contains components that experts say would remain dangerous for thousands of years and that has drawn criticism from nonproliferation experts.