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Nevada politicians correct to fight the feds over Yucca, plutonium shipments

Gary Duarte’s Feb. 4 commentary “Science and engineering versus NIMBY politics” ignores the facts.

Yucca Mountain is an unsuitable site for a geologic repository because of its geology and hydrology. Fractured rock above and below the repository horizon would allow the release of radioactive material from the waste packages. Even the Department of Energy’s proposed installation of $20 billion worth of titanium drip shields, one over each of the more than 10,000 waste packages, would not prevent high-level nuclear waste from contaminating Nevada’s groundwater.

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission licensing boards have admitted 218 Nevada safety and environmental challenges for adjudication. Since 2010, Congress has wisely refused to squander another $2 billion trying to get the NRC to grant a license for this unworkable project.

Mr. Duarte likewise ignores the facts about plutonium. Our country’s program for disposition of surplus plutonium has collapsed, and the recent secret shipments to Nevada cannot hide the failures at facilities in South Carolina, Texas and New Mexico.

Facts and the law support the strong opposition by Gov. Steve Sisolak, Attorney General Aaron Ford, Nevada’s congressional delegation and the Legislature.

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