(Gary Duarte of USNEF) – For those readers who are interested in facts, this article will address them about Nevada politics and the Yucca Mountain Application Study. I am director of a Nevada ten-year-old registered Non-Profit, the US Nuclear Energy Foundation. We have a contact list of around 900 scientists & engineers worldwide, and they are specialists in nuclear technology. Our foundation is non-scientist grassroots of people simply analyzing dialogue between the nuclear industry and political leaders addressing Yucca Mountain. For Governor Sandoval and former Governor Richard Bryan who penned an op-ed in Las Vegas Review-Journal stating that the Yucca Mountain “Study” is an “unsafe site that won’t ever be safe for nuclear waste,” the statement basically does not qualify about the study and an embarrassment to their character to make such. Either of them, a trained nuclear scientist or engineer, is discrediting himself in making such a public statement.
The state’s legislative establishment of Nevada, Agency for Nuclear Projects, was established with the following enactment in Nevada law: NRS 459.001 Enactment. The paragraph demonstrates that the basis for nuclear activities is of an apolitical purpose. Example is the article for Policy and Purpose:”. . .“properly correlated with the other resources of the region, can assist substantially in the industrial progress of the West and the further development of the economy of the region . . . This enactment also recognizes that optimum benefit from nuclear and related scientific or technological resources, facilities and skills requires systematic encouragement, guidance, assistance, and promotion from the party states on a cooperative basis.”
NRS 459.0093 states “the Agency for Nuclear Projects is hereby created within the Office of the Governor . . . The Governor shall appoint an Executive Director, who serves at the pleasure of the Commission, and who must . . . possess broad management skills related to the functions of the agency . . .” (The directorship appointment to this from inception to our knowledge has NEVER included a trained scientist in nuclear technology or radiation health sciences. The Nevada University System does contain professors and graduate students in nuclear engineering and radiation health sciences who have never been vetted as “qualified candidates” for the management of this AGENCY). Based on a long track record, this agency has filed over 200, what may prove to be unfounded contentions as posted on the agencies website, opposing the Yucca Mountain Study and not performing its duties on an apolitical basis. In fact, this agency’s technical studies have been so egregious that vetting of the state’s so-called “experts” is intended to occur during the Atomic Safety Licensing Board adjudication of the Nevada Contentions, a court ruling to come as the application process advances.
USNEF does not consider itself qualified to assess the Yucca Mountain Study. But, instead our opinions were drawn from expert researchers who have become part of the industry for decades. Some of these “qualified groups and agencies” have written documented position statements addressing the Yucca Mountain Study: Ten of America’s National Laboratories; the U.S. Chamber of Commerce; the Institute for 21st Century Energy; the IEEE Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (125 years old with 360,000 members worldwide); The Heritage Foundation; American Nuclear Society with 12,000 members worldwide; National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners; Idaho National Laboratories Retired Employees Association; Greenpeace co-founder Dr. Patrick Moore; Whole Earth Catalog founder Stewart Brand; Gwyneth Cravens, author of Power to Save the World; and, Robert Stone, director of Pandora’s Promise documentary. These organizations and people support nuclear energy and the science behind the Yucca Mountain Study. For the State of Nevada, worldwide science representation vetting Yucca Mountain seems irresponsible.
Nevada’s “political position” on Yucca Mountain cannot provide a qualified list of opposing organizations with anywhere near the credibility of the above-named organizations, government laboratories and industry-trained scientists. For politics to suggest that such a number of agencies and groups are misguided, is rather illogical and challenges common sense and credibility. If 50% of these groups opposed Yucca with substantiated data, USNEF would vote against it, and be a driving force to oppose it, but not at 95% support by the industry.
Nevada’s Yucca Mountain Nuclear Waste Repository, after 30 years of a passed Congressional law, $15+ billion spent for the science and engineering study and countless efforts by thousands of people remains empty. This national Repository is not built because of political maneuvering primarily of one, Senator Harry Reid. We know, for all practical purposes, that the science studies administrated to Yucca Mountain prove its public safety and operational functionality. In multiple surveys today, nearly 73% of the “people” are willing to have the study completed and nine of Nevada’s 17 Counties, over 50% (the grassroots). The facts stated here are proof that Nevada’s politics are in play for their game and NOT representative of Nevada’s citizens. It is fine to claim, “Not in my backyard” but, don’t portray that the science and engineering is unsafe with such overwhelming proof, it just discredits character and the state’s political versus science position.
Our directive is “educating the grassroots public” in spite of all the ill-founded political opposition. In the case of Harry Reid, he did his maneuvering in Washington with the Obama administration for political reasons instead of asking for a Public Referendum by the people of Nevada. This, BECAUSE, he was unsure that the vote of the people would cast his opposition vote!
It is the people of Nevada who have been misled by politics. They deserve a truthful government as do the people across the country. The public deserves the truth and transparency, once educated, they are not as foolish as politics would think them to be. Nevada’s Yucca Mountain opposition will be reversed, by educating its citizens about the truth. The truth of this is that the POLITICS does not want a public referendum. Think about THAT!
Mr. Duarte is Director of the US Nuclear Foundation, a Nevada-based 501 (c)(3) non-profit corporation whose mission is to influence change in public opinion towards knowledgeable citizens about nuclear energy and waste repository issues for the grassroots public, based on logic, common sense and deductive reasoning. For more information, visit www.USNuclearEnergy.org.