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Perspective

Congress needs to uphold the president's designation for a nuclear waste disposal site.
Fortnightly Magazine - June 15 2002

for many years.

Early this year, Secretary of Energy Spencer Abraham recommended to President Bush that Yucca Mountain be designated as the nation's nuclear waste disposal site. On Feb. 15, President Bush accepted that recommendation and notified Congress of the designation of the Yucca Mountain site under the Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1982. Both houses of Congress now have 90 legislative calendar days to reconfirm the Yucca Mountain designation, thus over-riding, by simple majority votes, Nevada's April 8 veto.

Transport of the nuclear waste to Nevada will be done safely, under tightly controlled federal regulations. While surface transportation around the United States of high-level nuclear waste has been going on for many years, there has never been an escape of radioactivity into the environment. This is due to the conservative design of nuclear waste shipping containers and controls on the loading and handling process. Transportation of defense-related nuclear waste has been going on for decades without incident. The U.S. nuclear industry has an unparalleled safety record. After 40 years of operation at 110 nuclear plants-there has never been a fatality, a safety record that is unequaled in any other major U.S. industry.

If Congress doesn't vote to over-ride Nevada's veto of the president's Yucca Mountain designation, then an entirely new site search and study process would begin-an unacceptable option. Let's make sure our elected representatives and senators in Congress do the right thing for the national good and uphold the president's decision to resolve the nuclear waste disposal issue once and for all.

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