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LETTER: Yucca Mountain and earthquakes

The Sunday letter “Shaky policy” by William H. Isaac II asks about the effect on Yucca Mountaion of the 6.4 magnitude earthquake on July 4. We know, too, it was followed within 36 hours by a 7.1 quake in Ridgecrest, California, (150 miles west of Las Vegas). Mr. Isaac asks if any damage was sustained inside the facility.

Undoubtedly, as he was writing his letter, geologists, scientists and seismologists were en route to the site, if they weren’t already there, to report to our anti-Yucca Mountain congressional delegation. Before hearing the assessment, I’ll go out on a limb and guess that the spent nuclear fuel shipped by road from the Savannah site recently in casks of multiple steel shells can withstand severe incidents such as quakes.

A Nuclear Regulatory Commission study in 2014 found that, due to the container design, “there is less than a 1 in a billion chance that the radioactive material would be released in an accident.” In 2017, Steve Nesbit, director of nuclear policy and support for Duke Energy, said, “Transportation of used nuclear fuel is one of the safest endeavors in the history of mankind.”

I’m sure the Yucca scientists are eager to brief Nevada’s elected officials — and I want our representatives to report back to us in writing so it’s part of the official record. Please courtesy copy former Sen. Harry Reid and President Barack Obama, too. There’s plenty of crow to go around for all of them.

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