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State should claim Yucca Mountain cash

To the editor:

Regarding the Yucca Mountain story in Thursday’s Review-Journal (“$5.6 billion deal for Nevada?”), what is being sought is a place for storage of partially spent nuclear fuel rods. Yes, that’s the correct terminology — partially spent nuclear fuel rods, not nuclear waste. As medical director for the Nevada Operations Office of the Department of Energy for 18 years (1973-1991), I consider myself very knowledgeable on the subject. This issue has been plagued by ignorance, misperceptions and deliberate misinformation put forth by special interests. Add to that the fact that Secretary of Energy appointees have mostly been political stooges, with some totally lacking scientific training.

Here are the facts:

1. The DOE rarely is proactive and is even less effective with reactive dissemination of facts and educating the public.

2. Storage of nuclear material at Yucca Mountain refers to partially spent fuel rods from nuclear generators. These aren’t waste. They can be reprocessed and used again in nuclear generators, as is done by other nations. We developed the technology, other nations use it, yet we don’t. How dumb can we be?

3. There have been thousands of shipments of nuclear material across the nation with zero mishaps. How much safer can it be?

4. There have been zero nuclear radiation injuries or deaths in the U.S. commercial nuclear energy program, with 104 reactors over 40 years. Compare that to the fossil fuel industry, or even the renewables.

5. By law, commercial nuclear power generators are required to collect small amounts from their rate payers for storage and eventual recycling of partially spent fuel rods. That fund now has between $25 billion and $30 billion.

How stupid do we have to be to turn down a proposed extra $5.6 billion to store partially spent fuel rods at Yucca Mountain. The downside risk is virtually zero. You’ll never get better odds on the Strip, or anywhere else. And if there was a “spill” during transport, it would be easy to contain. It would never blow up, as fossil fuel did in the recent Canadian rail mishap that wiped out the town of Lac-Megantic.

Let’s use our God-given intelligence to make rational decisions for the good of our nation and the state of Nevada. If anyone has facts contrary to what I have simply stated, I’d like to hear them.



Foreign aid

To the editor:

The United States is a Republic, formerly governed by our Constitution. Nowhere in that Constitution does it say we legally must give foreign aid to anyone.

Providing foreign aid is a kind, charitable thing to do when our nation has a surplus. We don’t at this time, since government spending has put us $17 trillion in debt. Does anyone else care about this?



Heck’s NSA vote

To the editor:

I’d like to thank Rep. Joe Heck for voting against the National Security Agency amendment that would have cut funding for the phone record collection program. A majority of his constituents might feel differently, but he (along with Rep. Dina Titus) voted the right way. The amendment was offered in good faith and with the best of intentions, but it would have had the effect of criminalizing the collection of survival-essential information. A large majority of the alleged NSA abuses didn’t originate with the NSA.

Corrective legislation is needed, and the NSA desperately needs to be more astute in its endeavors. The failed amendment wouldn’t have accomplished any of that and would have hindered more effective remedies. We are fortunate that it failed.



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